The Feed | Slow farmed, low-stress cows make better beef, says boutique cattle station manager

The Feed | Slow farmed, low-stress cows make better beef, says boutique cattle station manager

by  | May 24, 2022 | News

Stress-free, chilled herds contribute to world-class beef with a higher marbling score. That’s according to Jamie Gaddum, farm manager at Matangi Angus Beef.

Most beef cattle raised in New Zealand experience a range of stress factors each day – everything from loud farm dogs to restricted feeding. Farming ethically, Matangi Angus Beef in the Hawke’s Bay goes against the grain, reducing stress on its herd at every point.

This careful approach produces beef sought after for its premium taste and texture. It’s seen the farm achieve a coveted marbling score of six this season, with its beef sought after and served up by top chefs and food connoisseurs across the country.

Farm manager Jamie Gaddum says the marbling score in beef is measured by the degree of visible intramuscular fat found within the meat and is directly related to the conditions experienced by stock, including stress.

“Marbling scores are expertly graded by an independent, qualified assessor, who bases the score on the rib eye muscle of each animal. Only a happy animal will eat consistently, so this and a nutritional diet will help produce those intramuscular fats,” he says.

Matangi’s stress reduction approach eliminates most common stress causes – extended trucking, changing environments, restricting feed, mixing cattle mobs up and using loud farm dogs.

“Stress produces lactic acid in the meat from the breakdown of glycogen, resulting in beef with a lower pH level, lighter colour, reduced water-binding capacity, and it’s tougher to eat. We’ve achieved pH levels consistently between 5.7 and 5.9 – which is considered optimum for the highest quality meats. We also feel good knowing we are providing our herd with the best conditions on-farm and the most stress-free life possible,” he says

Fast becoming known as the producer of New Zealand’s best Angus beef, Matangi takes a bespoke and highly ethical approach to farming, working with a carefully selected, small, closed herd selected for its top-notch genetics that spends its entire life cycle on the property. The farm is environmentally managed to optimise soil and water quality and protect the land. The beef cattle are treated respectfully, and stress is minimised at every point – epitomising the concept of free-range and grass-fed only.

“Everything we do, we have our consumer in mind, and I often think when doing a task on the farm that if one of our restaurant’s customers was to see me now, would I still do it this way? I make sure the answer is always yes. The wellbeing of our animals is paramount, and happy animals produce high-quality meat, so it’s a win-win,” Jamie says.

With consumers becoming more aware of where their food comes from, Matangi hopes to see the emergence of more boutique producers that focus on quality and more farms adopting highly ethical and sustainable practices throughout the sector, Jamie says.

About Matangi Angus Beef:

Matangi Angus Beef is bred with purpose, grown with patience, and crafted with precision, exclusively for the NZ market. It has a bespoke and ethical approach to farming, working with a carefully selected, small, closed herd and farming land that is sustainably optimised for the best soil and water quality, ensuring it maintains and improves the future environment, to obtain the best quality meat.

Matangi works with an exclusive master butcher to create premium cuts before providing them directly, seasonally and exclusively to conscientious and discerning NZ customers. They do this because they believe in farming ethically, feeling good about what they do, and because Kiwis have a right to taste the absolute best New Zealand pastures can produce – small-batch, seasonal, premium beef.

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