Appropriate animal husbandry is critical to ensuring animals are in peak health and optimal condition. Each animal is observed daily to maintain the highest standard of animal welfare. Stress and anxiety can greatly impact the quality of the meat, and weight gains of the animal. To ensure our animals grow at the desired rate with no negative impact on quality, the husbandry and handling of our animals is critically important to us, and remains front of mind at all times. Cattle are naturally herd animals and form strong social relationships within the group. We minimise herd disturbances and limit the stress to the animals by keeping them in their same herd groups for the duration of their lives. We ensure low-stress stock handling techniques are used on all our animals and the majority of the cattle work and stock movement is done on foot or on horseback.
We carefully select beef breeds and genetics that allow us to focus on a quality product, without the need to use any Hormone Growth Promotants (HGP’s). European and British breeds (Bos Taurus) are broad in both form and muscular structure and are favoured on our farm due to their natural tendency to lay down fat, which was historically needed as a heat and energy source in the colder European environments when grass was hard to come by. European cattle such as Limousin, and Simmental are selected due to their frame size and ability to put down muscle quickly. British breeds such as Angus and Hereford grow more slowly but lay down desirable fat under the skin and within the muscle providing an element of intramuscular marbling. Many of the cattle bred by us are a 1st cross between the two. Limousin x Angus or Simmental x Angus which provides us with the best of both worlds, this is commonly referred to as Hybrid Vigour.
Many factors influence the quality of the meat; breed, age, sex, handling and husbandry but arguably, none more so than the feed source the animals are raised on, particularly in the final stages of their lives. Whilst we aim to have all our cattle grazing on the lush, green rolling pastures of Robertson year-round, Australia’s harsh summers and dry periods mean we occasionally need to provide supplementary feed to our cattle. When an animal is supplementary fed, they are still free to graze freely and naturally around the farm, with access to grass, whilst also having access to a supplementary feed source used to aid in the growth and development of the overall animal as well as supporting intramuscular fat deposits. The supplemented feed source is based on the dietary requirements of the animal at that time, and would typically include a combination of hay, silage, minerals and grain.