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Big Island Raises Hopes for Grass Fed Beef on Small and Large Ranches

Media Release:

Over 1 million acres of land, about 25% of the entire state of Hawaii, is cattle ranch land. There are ranches on all the main islands, and on the Big Island of Hawaii cattle ranches have been a key part of island life since Parker Ranch was founded in 1847. At over 130,000 acres, it’s one of the largest ranches in the U.S., but most of the 110 ranches in the Hawaii Cattlemen’s Council are anywhere from a few hundred acres to a few thousand.

The Schutte Ranch, run by Guy Schutte and his wife Joeliene is one of the many smaller ranches in Kamuela’s cattle country. Guy is one of the first ranchers to use SweetPro supplement lick blocks in his cattle operation. He has helped to prove just how remarkably well suited SweetPro is to the grass fed cattle operations throughout Hawaii.

Without a significant source of grain or hay, Hawaii’s cattle depend completely on grass, but the consistent drought over the past ten years has caused many ranchers to reduce herd size or accept modest growth from their calves. While on the mainland, cattle ranchers have been using 25% less forage for their herds on SweetPro blocks, or handling 25% more cattle on the same pastures.

While researching a better approach, Guy decided to use SweetPro cattle supplement tubs and found they worked very well in combination with the native kikuyu Hawaiian grasses. Most Hawaii ranches are cow-calf operations that ship calves to the mainland for pasturing and grain finishing. With SweetPro, Guy found that his calves grew faster, developed better frames and stayed healthier during shipping to the mainland.

As a test, Guy raised two identical cow/calf pairs from the same genetic line, in identical side-by-side paddock grazing areas, using grass only. One pair had SweetPro FiberMate 18 tubs and one didn’t. At the weaning time of 8.5 months, the non-SweetPro calf was a respectable 450 pounds, but the SweetPro calf was 750 pounds. An amazing difference.

Rancher Schutte also raised one of his steers to maturity using only grass and SweetPro tubs, and remarked “It’s the best beef I’ve ever eaten”. So the future of grass fed beef in Hawaii looks promising, and thanks to innovators like Guy Schutte, SweetPro will play an important part.

SweetPro products are carried by Animal Health International/Lextron of Kamuela on the Big Island. The dealership is under the leadership of Rollin Olson, who along with his team have been serving the Big Island’s animal health needs for 30 years. Animal Health International is located at 64-5161 Mana Road, phone 808-885-8006.