Grain fed beef
Quality starts in the paddock and enhanced in the feedlot
Australian beef farmers are proud of their beef and its reputation as one of the finest quality meats in the world.
About two-thirds of Australian cattle are grass fed, spending their entire lives grazing on grasses and pastures. The remaining third are grain fed, spending most of their lives grazing grasses and pastures before being fed a grain-based diet in feedlots. (Source)
At any one time around 4% of the Australian cattle herd are being fed in feedlots. (Source)
Feedlots were born out of necessity in Australia. The simple reason being that many regions in Australia do not produce enough grass to feed and nourish cattle year-round. Even though all Australian cattle are raised on grass, feeding a grain-based diet in purpose built facilities (called feedlots) is a complementary system that ensures cattle can be nourished year-round despite the varying environmental conditions and therefore allowing beef to be available for consumers at all times.
The Australian grass and grain fed production systems are highly complementary, interrelated and dependent upon each other.
Feeding cattle in feedlots on a grain-based diet helps to produce consistent quality beef that is:
Available all year round
Australian grain fed beef generally has more consistent fat, flavour and meat quality. Beef lovers can be assured that certified grain fed beef will consistently deliver the delicious taste and juicy tenderness they are seeking.
Grain fed beef can originate from cattle that have been fed at an accredited feedlot for as little as 35 days or as long as 400 days or more, depending on the type of beef produced and what the consumer desires.
Generally speaking, cattle that have been on a grain-based diet for a period of 150 days or longer tend to produce a more marbled style beef. Marbling (the flecks of fine white fat within the muscle) adds taste, tenderness and flavour.
Beef production is generally more efficient in a feedlot as more beef can be grown using less cattle, emissions, land, feed, manure and water. (Source)
So apart from producing great quality beef, grain feeding is regarded as a highly efficient and sustainable option for producing beef for consumers and for maintaining a sustainable environment.
Clean, green and safe beef
Australian beef is recognised as among the safest and healthiest in the world with stringent control systems guaranteeing quality since the 1990’s. Grain fed beef is subject to the same food safety, traceability and shelf life standards that all Australian beef is. Certified grain fed beef is also subject to additional product quality, animal welfare and environmental standards through the National Feedlot Accreditation Scheme.
The certified grain fed beef that appears on a great number of dinner plates every week is underpinned by the AUS-MEAT standards and the National Feedlot Accreditation Scheme. Many beef brands also use Meat Standards Australia as an eating quality standard. All certified grain fed beef is subject to quality processes that are designed to ensure its safety and shelf life with the customer always front of mind.
Food safety and quality assurance plays a major part in Australia’s highly successful beef export industry. Two-thirds of Australia’s beef production is exported to over 100 countries across the globe. This wouldn’t be possible without Australia’s reputation for producing “clean, green, healthy beef”. Grain fed beef is a vital part of that story.
Cooking with grain fed beef
What's your favourite cut of beef?
Peruse any supermarket meat cabinet or a local butcher’s front window display and you will see that Australian grain fed beef comes in a variety of different cuts. Each cut has its own unique set of characteristics and suggested cooking methods.
Download the Meat Cuts app to learn more about the different types of cuts, cooking methods and to discover recipe ideas.