Researchers at the University of Illinois lead by Dan Faulkner claim Naturally raised beef can be produced effectively to meet specific consumer demands when the premium that is required but substantial for production is covered. Premium includes additional production and transportation charges. This finding is significant as demands for Naturally raised beef have carved a niche in current beef market.

According to Faulkner, "As producers, we need to be responsive to consumer demand. Currently, naturally raised beef is a very small percentage of the market. But it is a market that is growing at several hundred percent a year, and has been identified as a niche that consumers are very interested in."

The increasing demand for naturally raised beef has made scientists investigate the effects of finishing management and production system on growth of calves. This demand is largely because of method of raising practiced to obtain naturally raised beef. Unlike traditional systems that employ artificial technologies, this form of beef is not subject to hormone or antibiotic treatment.

Irrespective of confinement or pasture finishing, naturally raised steers can be produced effectively with a justified substantial premium. Further producers will find Pasteur finishing more profitable when using natural or traditional methods to raise beef.

"I think this information will benefit smaller operations that would like to pursue a naturally raised market in a pasture finishing system, but may not be able to use a traditional confinement system," Faulkner said.

Scientists also noted that natural treatments produced higher quality beef than traditional production methods that employ ionophore treatments ( eg: Rumensin ) and implants to improve gain and efficiency.

Steers can also be organically raised in organic pastures untreated with chemicals or chemical fertilizers. Although the organic beef is of high standard, according to authors, consumers are not aware of but want only naturally raised beef.