End Consumers

  • Is your family committed to a healthy lifestyle?
  • Do you prefer fresh and local food products?
  • Do you demand to know where your food is coming from?

Then a switch to Wagner’s Great River Beef for your family may be of interest.
Our premium cattle are raised on a large farm in Illinois where they get plenty of
exercise. They are fed a diet of vitamins, minerals, farm-raised corn, and a variety of grasses. We select our animals for slaughter based on marbling, health, energy, and muscle-to-fat ratios. This translates to a healthier, protein-packed, and flavor filled
product for your consumption.

Sound good? Let’s talk.

Below is a chart that details additional health information. Check out our top quality
cuts here.

Growing Phase

The growing phase is about 90 days in length, during which cattle weighing 600 to 850 pounds are fed an optimal protein, low starch diet to facilitate muscle and frame development in preparation for moving them into the finishing phase, described below.

Diets are formulated by Great River Beef’s nutritionist from carefully
chosen ingredients, proportioned to create the right protein:calorie ratio. Feeding management and performance are closely monitored, and necessary adjustments are made in the diets as the growing phase progresses. Ingredient quality is monitored to assure that the diet specifications are being met and to prevent feeding anything that may contain spoilage or adulterants.

Diets are fortified with vitamins and minerals to: 1) enhance immunity,
2) assist the cattle in the digestion of expensive protein and energy ingredients, 3) provide antioxidants important to muscle and connective
tissue integrity, 4) enhance muscle hydration and accentuate muscle
bloom, and 5) maintain rumen (the major digestive organ) health,
which in turn creates efficiency in the way cattle convert feed into beef.

Although the primary target during the growing phase is to create muscle,
a small portion of the calories consumed begin to find purpose in the deposition of intramuscular fat. This is a key element in creating a
satisfactory eating experience for Great River Beef’s customers.

Finishing Phase

When cattle approach 850 pounds, they are gradually transitioned onto a lower protein, higher starch diet, to speed up the deposition of intramuscular fat (known as marbling) and regulate the deposition of fat cover (external carcass fat). Again, the purpose of this transition phase, which is intentionally slow and deliberate, is to protect rumen health. Pretty much all of the principles of ingredient quality, diet formulation and feeding management used in the growing phase are similarly used during finishing. But, keep in mind that dietary starch is a much more important component in finishing
cattle than in growing cattle if a satisfactory beef eating experience is to
be achieved.

As cattle selected to become Great River Beef approach the endpoint of the finishing phase (about 130 days beyond the end of the growing phase), their proximity to making the best possible product is measured using ultrasound, similar to the procedure used in the practice of human medicine. As deposition of finish progresses, it becomes increasingly important that creature comforts are provided, heat or cold stress is controlled, muscle hydration is maintained, and shelf appeal (beef color and texture) is created. These are all facilitated through diet manipulation, but with the well-being of the cattle in mind.

Processing Into Beef