Cattle are generally grain fed because the quality of grass at certain times of the year or during poor seasons (such as droughts) is such that it doesn’t contain enough nutrients for the cattle to grow to required weights. In addition, grain feeding cattle increases the red meat industry’s ability to produce a consistent product – yield, quality and supply.
In Australia, at any one point in time, approximately 3% of cattle are being grain fed. To be classified as grain fed cattle need to be fed more than 60 days.
Grain fed beef tends to have brighter white fat, more marbling in meat than grass fed beef resulting in a more buttery flavour. This marbling is a result of the type of feed cattle receive during their time in the feedlot as well as the breed of cattle being fed.