Sylvan Dale Ranch’s Grass-fed Cattle Battle Rising Feed Costs

By Madeline Novey Reporter-Herald Staff Writer
Posted: 08/06/2011 03:23:59 PM MDT
reposted from the Reporter-Herald article

susan-jessup-watches-her-steers

Susan Jessup, co-owner of Sylvan Dale Ranch west of Loveland, rests upon a fence and watches as her steers lunch on pasture grasses Thursday afternoon. Unlike many, Jessup has not felt the burden of increased feed costs because the ranch grows its own hay to doll out to the grass-fed, grass-finished cattle.
( Madeline Novey )

The air was cool and gray clouds moved above a herd of black and brown steers as they munched on pasture grasses Thursday afternoon at Sylvan Dale Ranch.

Susan Jessup, whose family has owned the ranch west of Loveland since 1946, rested her elbows on the splintered fence and watched the 23 animals as they not only ate but also saved money.

Unlike some ranches, Sylvan Dale grows its own hay for the almost 100 cattle to eat maybe 60 days of the year when they are not out grazing natural grasses across the 3,000-acre ranch.

But not all cattle operations — or those with poultry, pigs or sheep for that matter — are so lucky. Over the past decade at least, the price of feed has gone up significantly.

On the other side, Jessup said her beef prices have not changed.

Ready for pickup at the ranch on Fridays, a side of grass-fed, grass-finished beef is $1,277, a quarter costs about $675 and an eighth runs $350.

And grass-fed cattle are not only more predictable on the price side, but healthier, she said.

“The whole food awareness movement has raised so much over the past several years,” Jessup said. “People are being aware of the food they eat, where it comes from and the nutritional value.”

You can read the full article at ReporterHerald.com
Madeline Novey can be reached at 669-5050, ext. 516, or mnovey(at)reporter-herald.com.