Australia produces a range of high-quality beef, including grass-fed, grain-fed beef, organic and breed-specific such as Wagyu and Angus. So, what exactly does it all mean?
Grass-fed beef comes from animals that have only grazed on grass. In Australia, the majority of cattle graze on open pasture, with grass-fed meat accounting for approximately two-thirds of the country’s overall beef production. Cattle feed on a range of different types of grasses, depending on the geographic region and seasonal conditions, which can have direct influence on the flavour and tenderness of the beef.
In Australia, most grain fed cattle spend 85-90% of their lives on pasture, then transition to a feedlot for ‘finishing’. The amount of time cattle spend in a feedlot depends on specific customer requirements – on average between 60-120 days.
Livestock are fed grain for a number of reasons, including to improve eating quality, meet specific customer needs for niche markets (e.g. for highly marbled meat), meet the energy needs of animals when pasture is limited (such as in drought conditions) and increase animal size. The presence of marbling can contribute to improved tenderness, juiciness and flavour.
In order to produce organic beef, producers must be certified organic. Organic beef production requires that:
- Cattle are raised in a free-range environment and graze on 100% chemical and GMO-free pastures; and
- Cattle are not treated with hormones or antibiotics during their lifetime.
Australia has independently audited quality assurance programs to ensure that customers have confidence in the products they purchase.
The Australian red meat industry produces premium beef to suit a range of customers around the world. Our global reputation for high-quality red meat stands as a credit of our ability to meet the requirements of both our customers and trading partners worldwide. A prime example of this is the entire beef supply chain dedicated to producing beef for our EU customers.
Article Date: 22nd July 2020