LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) -- Grazing expert Allan Nation says the market for grass-fed beef has grown from less than 50 producers to 1,200 companies.

Nation is editor of the The Stockman Grass Farmer and recently told ranchers at a grazing conference in Kearney that grass-fed beef amounts to about 1 percent of the market, but the 1 percent equals about $1 billion.

Nation also said that lessons from feeding cattle grass can be applied to grain-fed cattle by reducing the amount of grain that is used.

Nation says success with grass feeding requires early-maturing, mid-sized cattle. A steer would finish at about 1,100 pounds and a heifer slightly less.

Today, most cattle in Nebraska are bigger than that.

Copyright 2009 The AP.

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