Six Gen - We are Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) certified which ensures we understand how to produce quality beef. Like any industry, producing beef changes through the years and this certification ensures that we understand current industry standards in stewardship, stockmanship, and transportation.
Six Gen - We do not use any type of medicated feeds on our farm.
Others -Giving beef cattle daily antibiotics is unfortunately a normal, everyday practice in the beef industry. Large feedlots use veterinarians to provide the necessary prescriptions for medicated feed and small farmers use antibiotics in feed not regulated by the 2017 USDA Veterinary Feed Directive. Check with your local co-op and you will find that 3 out of 4 bulk feeds they offer are medicated.
Six Gen - Our cows are raised on pasture their entire lives and have hollows to explore and find shade and water in. They have fresh grass in the spring, summer, and fall and fresh hay and cotton seed in the winter. In the few months before they are processed, our beef cows are given an increasing amount of feed to ensure quality marbling and taste for the customer.
Others - Beef cows are put in a feedlot with hundreds to thousands of other cows in which they only eat hay, corn, and other supplements. Their space is limited in order to keep them from burning calories and therefore they walk and lay in their mud and waste.
Six Gen - "Half of your calf comes from your bull," my grandfather liked to say. We therefore invested in a quality registered angus bull that produces calves with large backsides and good marbling in the meat (they track registered angus bulls for these and other features). He is also a 2,000+ lb pet that will follow you around the pasture for treats..
Others - Buy cheaper nonregistered bulls that result in less quality cattle and therefore smaller steaks and roast with less marbled meat.
Six Gen - No steroids, implants, hormones, or antibiotics are used in our beef cattle. If a beef calf gets sick and needs antibiotics they are sold at the stockyard and then normally sent to a feedlot
Others - Give cattle steroids, implants in ears to increase growth, hormones, and antibiotics and justify it because it takes less time to grow resulting in cheaper beef and bigger profits.
As is standard industry practice, we wean our calves at 7 - 8 months of age to allow the mother to gain weight for her next calf she will have in 4-5 months. The calves are 400+ lbs at weaning.
Six Gen - We utilize fence line weaning in which we separate momma and calf with a fence. This allows the calves to see mom and come and get nudges and licks but not nurse. It results in some bellowing but allows the calves and their moms to adjust to their new normal. Some moms will stay close to the fence for a week or more while the calf adjusts to it normal.
Others - Separate the calves and cows and then put the calves on a truck to the market, resulting in a very traumatic day for the calf and mom. Cows walk around the pasture for days bellowing and looking for their calves while the calves do the same thing at the stockyard.