That’s what I am trying to understand… there seems to be a CW that feeding cattle grains is bad in some way… but grains come from various grass plants. So it is the same plant as grass… so I am asking: are grains that bad for the resulting nutrition from a cow?
As Peter Ballerstedt points out, the difference in the nutrient profiles of grass finished and grain finished beef isn’t so great that anyone who can’t afford grass-fed beef needs to worry excessively.
However, grains are not appropriate food for cattle. The stems and leaves of the plants would be better. Also bear in mind that it is not the animal itself that digests the plants, but rather the bacteria in the rumen of the animal. So the question is really whether the seeds of the plant are what the bacteria are adapted to eat, or whether the leaves and stems are better for them.
Proponents of regenerative grazing (what Alan Savory calls “holistic grazing” and Richard Teague calls “adaptive multi-paddock grazing”) claim that the nutrient profiles of their meat are noticably better, expecially after several years of soil improvement. However, I haven’t seen any actual studies documenting that, so who knows?
Good question and I don’t really have good answer.
I’m only guessing here but I would think that there is a difference between them eating the stems and leaves of the plant versus the mature seed. Especially if the plant was young before it started going to seed.