Life on the land – The Wagyu royal treatment

Life isn’t tough for the Wagyu at King River. With top-notch care, careful nutrition and lots of rest, you may even say they’re a pampered bunch. It’s not this way for all cattle in Australia, but we believe in providing the royal treatment for our Wagyu.  

Why does Wagyu quality of life matter?

The cattle’s quality of life is core to production: both for the dignity and experience of the beast and for the profits of the company. From a business perspective, quality of life directly impacts the quality of our product. Nutrition, stress, water, and pasture land all contribute to the weight gain of Wagyu and the development of marbling in the meat. A well-fed, happy Wagyu will produce larger cuts of meat with better marbling throughout. The care and experience of the Wagyu are also fundamental to our values as a family-run, Aussie business. These animals have supported our business for generations, so we give them dignity while in our care. As a result, our Wagyu are highly respected and cared for at every stage of life.

The feedlot experience – good food, great comfort

The feedlot is a central part of the Wagyu’s experience. Here at King River we use a state-of-the-art feedlot and careful processes to ensure optimal growth and health. The operation is kept clean, smells great due to the steam flaked grain we use, and is fully shaded so the cattle can eat without sun exposure or dehydration. As the Wagyu grow, their feed is gradually increased. Wagyu that overeat will develop the wrong type of muscular fat, and underfed cattle won’t develop good marbling. Controlled feeding ensures the beast has the right amount of food available while also never feeling starved, stressed or force-fed. This process ensures the Wagyu are relaxed and develop a steady growth of muscle and marbling fat.

Happy Wagyu eat steam flaked grain

You might suspect we were feeding our Wagyu porridge by the smell coming from the feedlot. And you wouldn’t be too far off. Our Wagyu are fed steam flaked grain. The process of steam flaking pre-breaks down starch in the grains which has a number of benefits including better nutrition absorption, less digestive discomfort and reduced bacteria. This results in lower stress on the Wagyu’s body, higher nutrition in the meat resulting in better flavour, higher yields of milk in breeding cows, and increased growth as the animal burns less energy when digesting the feed.

Low stress, high comfort life

As part of the royal treatment, King River Wagyu enjoy a number of comforts. When not in the feedlot, the Wagyu can enjoy roaming through spacious paddocks with great pastures, shade, and good water. Whenever they interact with the Wagyu, our team prides itself on attention to detail and ensures the animals experience low-stress handling at all times. The focus is always to keep the Wagyu relaxed as this promotes strong, growing cattle. Part of our philosophy of care is ‘cruising without bruising’. Whenever the cattle are transported, we place a layer of sawdust in the truck to create a mattress-like base for the Wagyu.

Conception to consumption accountability

We are one of few operators that see the animal in every part of the life cycle, from conception to consumption. This means we have a higher level of accountability to both the animals and our customers. We get regular data back from the abattoir and know the impact of our breeding and animal treatment based on the results of the meat. At King River we are dedicated to providing high-level care for our Wagyu because we see the results in our happy cattle every day, and in our satisfied customers who testify to the quality of our products.