Monday, May 10, 2010

Cattle on Feed

Most of the beef produced and consumed in the U.S. comes from animals who spend their last months at feedlots. After being raised to about 700 pounds in weight during their first year or year and a half on pasture or range, they are transferred to feedlots to pack on another 400 pounds or so on a more concentrated diet of grain and other feeds.

If you have eaten a hamburger at In-N-Out Burger the steer it came from may have spent some time at the big Harris Ranch feedlot in California. (Harris Ranch Companies site here.) You may also have noticed this facility on the east side of Interstate 5 at Fresno-Coalinga Road if you have driven this highway between the Bay Area and L.A.

The Harris Ranch lot can feed 70,000 to 100,000 head at a time, and can process about 250,000 head a year. While there, cattle are fed corn brought in by train from the corn belt and other grains and feeds.

Notice the spur from the California Aqueduct bringing water toward the feedlot in this picture from Google Maps. The 800-acre feedlot is at the center of the image.

Animals raised here are slaughtered at the Harris Ranch Beef Company plant in Selma, California. This plant has annual output of nearly 200 million pounds of beef.

Other Google Maps views:

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