The modern agriculture and cattle farming are oriented on the mass production above all. The pursuit of the higher revenues through the minimization of time spent on fattening the cattle and the minimization of costs spent on feeding the cattle results in the excessive use of hormones, which accelerate the growth of the cattle, or antibiotics, which prevent the cattle from illnesses. However, such conventional cattle farming results in the production of beef, which may be potentially dangerous for human health. In this respect, the grain-fed steers is consistently more advantages compared to conventional fed because it allows the cattle to fatten within a couple of month without the use of hormones or any other elements accelerating growth.
At first glance the advantage of the grain-fed steers is obvious. However, the conventional farming is mainly oriented on the use of hormones and various nutritional supplements which stimulate faster growth of steers, but this is an artificial, unnatural stimulation. As a result, the beef turns to be quite different from the beef received in the result of grain-feeding. In this respect, it is not only the taste of the beef that differs, but it also the nutritional value and health safety of the beef that differ.
What is meant here is the fact that the use of hormones and antibiotics accepted in the conventional cattle farming is not accepted in the cattle farming oriented on the grain-feeding. As a result, people consuming beef of grain-fed steers do not face any risks of being affected by the excessive use of hormones or antibiotics. In this respect, it is worth mentioning the fact that hormones can influence the normal functioning of human body, while the uncontrollable use of antibiotics exposes people to the threat to their life.
On the other hand, it is possible to argue that the grain-fed steers need consistently larger amount of fodder compared to conventional cattle farming. To put it more precisely, steers need a larger amount of grain to fatten as much as steers using hormones do. Furthermore, they need more time to be fed in order to fatten to the target weight that means that the amount of fodder increases even more compared to conventional cattle farming.
Consequently, the costs of the production will be higher and, therefore, the price of the beef will grow proportionally to the costs of the production. As a result, the beef of grain-fed steers becomes less competitive compared to the beef produced in terms of the conventional farming, which turns to be consistently more profitable. In addition, the use of a large amount of grain means that the grain cannot be used for the production of other products that can be used by people.
However, all these arguments reveal the fact that at the moment grain-feeding is economically less profitable, but, at the same time, it is substantially safer for human health. Moreover, it is necessary to take into consideration the fact that the conventional cattle farming spends considerable funds on hormones and antibiotics and, simultaneously, receives subsidies from the state. In such a context, the economic effectiveness of grain-fed and conventionally-fed steers can be similar if the costs on hormones and antibiotics are excluded and subsidies are granted to grain-feeding cattle farms.
Thus, grain-fed steers seem to be more prospective compared to conventionally-fed steers due to their quality and the lack of any negative impact on human health.