Studies of forage and/or grass feeding of cattle versus grain finishing have been conducted in varying regions throughout the world but generalization of these results to beef from U.S. cattle may not be appropriate. In particular, available grass/forage variety and form as well as cattle breed have a significant impact on the nutritional profile of beef. The current review summarizes the nutritional characteristics of beef as reported from the limited number of studies comparing U.S. grass/forage-fed versus grain-finished cattle and estimates the intake of key nutrients that might be expected from consumption of U.S. beef from either feeding system. In addition, many studies report changes in fatty acids solely as a percentage of total fatty acids. Since grass/forage feeding typically results in a leaner product; the current review compares the fatty acid profile of beef from grass/forage feeding to that of grain-finished cattle on a mg/100 g of meat basis.
Keywords: Beef; Fatty acids; Feeding system; Nutrient composition; Omega-3; Saturated fat.