What is a feedlot?

A feedlot is a managed property where livestock eat a balanced and nutritious diet to produce red meat of a consistent quality and quantity.

In Australia, nearly one-third of the cattle herd is destined for feedlots, after spending the majority of their lives in a pasture-based environment. 

So why do feedlots exist?

Feedlots exist for two main reasons:

  1. To meet demand from customers who require a product which can be consistently supplied year-round (irrespective of seasons or droughts), of a particular quality and with a grainfed flavour.
  2. To feed livestock during Australia’s dry seasons when pastures don’t have enough nutrients to support animal growth and welfare.

What’s on the menu?

Grainfed animals are fed a selection of grains including wheat, barley and sorghum.

Grains are combined with other natural ingredients such as fodder and by-products from crops such as hay, and other grains such as cottonseed, lupins or field peas to deliver the necessary protein, carbohydrate, fat and roughage required to deliver a balanced diet and ensure the nutritional requirements of cattle are met.

Animal nutritionists are employed by feedlots to formulate the appropriate mix of energy, protein, fibre, minerals and vitamins to ensure the animals within the feedlot have a balanced diet.

The National Feedlot Accreditation Scheme is a quality assurance program that demonstrates the feedlot industry's commitment to animal welfare, environment, meat quality and food safety. It supports and complies with animal welfare legislation across Australian states and territories.

Accreditation to the Scheme is the prerequisite for meat being officially marketed as “grainfed” in both the export and domestic markets. As such, the majority of feedlots – nearly 400 – are accredited under the Scheme.

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Animal health and welfare



Environmental sustainability