Ethical Farmers raise 100% grass fed and finished beef
At our farm in Dungog, NSW we raise 100% grass fed and finished beef. This refers to cattle that have eaten grass their entire lives. We only grow and sell grass fed and grass finished beef because:
- It's best for the animal's health and quality of life
- Responsibly and non-intensively farmed pastured animals give us the opportunity to help regenerate the land by putting nutrients back in the soil and not destroy and degrade the land
- It's best for human health. Research conducted on the nutrient composition of grass fed meat has indicated higher levels of omega 3, vitamin E and carotenoid content than animals that have been fed grain, to date we have not performed our own testing )hopefully one day!); and
- The meat quality is better and the flavour more complex.
Meat labels in Australia
The way we label meat products in Australia can be very confusing. As farmers and consumers we are frustrated by how hard it is to get to the truth on how our food is produced so we can make informed choices at the checkout. There’s a big difference between 100% grass fed beef and grain fed beef and just to confuse things, grass fed beef too.
Grass fed and finished beef refers to cattle that have have eaten grass their entire lives—a 100% grass diet once they are weaned from their mothers. This is what we produce and sell at the Ethical Farmers.
Grass fed beef can also mean the above or that the cattle started on grass but may have received supplemental grain and/or were finished on grain from feedlots to help them put on weight quickly. Producers are not required to feed their cattle a 100% grass diet in order to label their meat 'grass fed' which can be confusing when all you want to do it purchase some good quality grass fed and finished meat! The best thing you can do to tell the two apart is shop 100% grass fed and ask the farmer direct questions.
In Australia, grain fed cattle have a diet that consists of grass plus grain. The cattle have eaten grass but have also been fed grain. To be labelled 'grain fed' they have eaten grain for a specified number of days. Cattle in grain fed systems have been fed a high energy diet to help them put on weight quickly. The meat has a predictable flavour, texture and fat content which supermarkets and some restaurant kitchens prefer. The downside to this is less complex and flavoursome meat and poorer nutritional composition of the meat. We believe the welfare of the animals in these systems is not to the standard of grass fed and grass finished beef. 'On Eating Meat' by Matthew Evans gives an honest and subjective account of what these farms look like in Australia if you would like to learn more.