Opportunities for pasture-raised Jersey beef in the Southeast

Project Overview

Project Type: On-Farm Research
Funds awarded in 2006: $14,952.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2008
Region: Southern
State: North Carolina
Principal Investigator:
Dr. Steven Washburn
North Carolina State University

Annual Reports


  • Animals: bovine
  • Animal Products: dairy


  • Animal Production: feed rations, grazing management, grazing - rotational
  • Crop Production: food product quality/safety
  • Farm Business Management: new enterprise development, marketing management, value added

    Proposal abstract:

    Because there are readily available Jersey and Jersey-Holstein crossbred cattle in the region and because there are potentially favorable attributes of Jersey beef, there may be marketing opportunities for producers in the region. Groups of Jersey and Jersey-Holsten crossbred steers will be identified to monitor through growing and finishing phases. Two groups of pasture-finished steers (total = 8 steers) will be monitored at Mr. Joe Peterson’s farm over the 2-year period of the study. Similarly, 2 groups each of pasture-raised (CEFS) and confinement finished (Butner research laboratory) Jersey and Jersey-Holstein steers (total = 36 to 48 steers) will be reared under the direction of the project leader at appropriate state-owned facilities. All steers in each sub-group will be of comparable ages and will be managed so that they are finished between 16 and 24 months of age. Complete records of inputs and costs of production will be kept. At harvest, standardized post mortem aging procedures will be implemented. Routine carcass evaluation procedures will be done. A 1 inch-thick steak from the primal loin of each steer will be used to conduct the Warner-Bratzler shear test. About 10 pounds of loin will be collected from each steer for use in fatty acid analyses and for at least 2 taste panel evaluations. Tenderness, scores, fatty acid composition, and taste panel evaluations will be analyzed statistically for differences based on the type of finishing program used. An evaluation will be done to determine the consumer acceptability and potential economic viability based on the data collected. Information will be presented at meetings and field days related to pasture-finished beef.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    The objective of this work is to examine marketable characteristics of farmer-reared pastured Jersey and Jersey-Holstein steers and to compare groups of pasture-raised (CEFS) and confinement-finished (Butner Beef Cattle Field Laboratory) Jersey and Jersey-Holstein steers for measures of growth, tenderness, fatty acid composition, and taste acceptance of beef produced.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.