Not all bulls are created equal: Gerald Fry on human health and recapturing grass-fed beef

Print

A farmer all his life, Gearld Fry has got to be one of the most gentlemanly-mannered, well-spoken men I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet. At 70+ years of age, he’s also one of the most experienced and highly-principled ranchers and teachers we’ve got in the US. He owned and operated an artificial insemination consultancy for two decades, and now helps cattle graziers around the world through his business, Bovine Engineering. He is a guru when it comes to understanding what we need to do to raise healthful, delicious beef on grass – and grass alone.

Why grass? And why care? Because food lovers all across this country are rediscovering the benefits of livestock raised on fresh grasses and herbs:

  • Food high in nutrition and flavor,
  • Cattle that are pastured outdoors virtually all year round, and
  • Opportunity for profitability (you can’t farm long if you can’t making a living)

What’s the big deal? you ask. Can’t all cows get big and strong if they chomp on green pastures all summer long?  Not necessarily. For example, Gearld explains that if you wean a calf away from its mother too soon, the little guy’s stomach won’t develop fully and he’ll never digest grass as effectively as he would have if he’d been left to nurse longer. In other words, it’ll take more food (cost and time) for him to grow up.

Gearld, and others like him, know that it takes both breeding and good management (how you feed and care for your cattle) to produce tasty, healthful burgers, steaks and roasts. And lots of the best qualities in any herd – such as the tenderness of a steak – are determined by the bull!

What’s amazing is that you can actually see and evaluate the bull’s genetic makeup by close – and tutored – examination of height, weight, back and chest measurements, the quality of the hide and hair, conformation of the scrotum and testicles, and other outward signs.

Gearld says it best. I hope you enjoy this Deep Roots Radio conversation with him. Are you finding grass-fed beef where you live? What have you done to improve the quality of your grass-fed herd? Leave a comment. Let us know. I’d love to hear from you. [Audio below]