Grain Fed Finished standard

What is the Grain Fed Finished standard?

The ‘Grain Fed Finished’ standard is a new certified Grain Fed beef standard to be introduced within the National Feedlot Accreditation Scheme (NFAS) and AUS-MEAT Meat Language.

The standard requires cattle to be produced within the NFAS production system, be raised on a high- energy ration for a minimum 35 Days on Feed and successfully grade Meat Standards Australia (MSA) when processed.

Why has the Grain Fed Finished standard been developed?

A review of the National Feedlot Accreditation Scheme (NFAS) in 2014-15 concluded that the Australian Lot Feeders’ Association (ALFA) should initiate a review of the current AUS-MEAT Minimum Standards for Grain Fed beef. The Beef Language White Paper, which concluded in 2016, also recommended a review of the Grain Fed Beef Language and the standards that underpin them. 

The new standard, with its minimum number of days on feed and NFAS and MSA overlay, will enable brand owners and feedlot operators increased flexibility around producing Grain Fed beef whilst also continuing to ensure product integrity and guaranteed eating quality.

Who developed the ‘Grain Fed Finished’ standard? 

The Australian Lot Feeders’ Association (ALFA) in consultation with feedlot operators, processors, retailers and brand owners. ALFA also worked closely with Industry representative bodies via the Australian Meat Industry Language and Standards Committee to develop the ‘Grain Fed Finished’ standard. 

What are the technical Specification of the ‘Grain Fed Finished’ standard?

 The technical specifications for the ‘Grain Fed Finished’ (GFF) standard are as follows:

  • Eligible cattle must be produced in an NFAS accredited feedlot in accordance with the NFAS rules and standards.
  • Number of days on feed: Minimum 35 days (same for steers and females).
  • Feed Ration - The cattle must have been fed in an Accredited Feedlot for not less than 35 days, and for not less than 28 days of that, on a nutritionally balanced ration of a recognised high energy feed of which grain is the highest single component. Rations must have an average metabolisable energy (ME) content greater than 10 megajoules (MJ) per kg of dry matter.
  • Meet all MSA requirements at production and meat processing/grading to be eligible as ‘GFF’ product.

Why was 35 days on feed chosen as the minimum number of days on feed? 

A minimum 35 days on feed has been selected firstly as a minimum number that provides added flexibility to brand owners who want to market Grain Fed beef. Secondly it is the approximate time that the prescribed Fat Colour attribute associated with Grain Fed beef occurs based on science. It is also compliant with the MSA on-farm production requirements for the number of days cattle must reside on a property to be MSA eligible. Finally the minimum number of days will enable feedlot managers and brand owners to better manage the cost of gain in times of high grain price. 

Download the Full Fact Sheet on the Grain Fed Finished Standards here.


CASE STUDIES

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Jim Cudmore
Chair - Feedlot Industry Accreditation Committee (FLIAC)


 

Tess Herbert 
President - Australian Lot Feeders' Association