There was a celebration of world class achievement in the production of beef on Friday night in Tamworth as the Royal Agricultural Society presented awards from recent feedlot trials.
All cattle were fed for the 70 day domestic market and the 100 day export trade at Wilga, part of the MacCue family enterprise at Bellata with surprisingly close results from a strong field of contenders that stretched from the black soil plains to the coast.
In the 70 day domestic class results champion team was awarded to a pen of six Angus bred by the Mayne family’s Texas Angus stud, Warialda with reserve ribbon going to the three Mayne children, Rosie, Will and Lachie, with a pen of their own steers.
In the export class champion team was awarded to Manchee Agriculture, ‘Wallah’, Narrabri with a pen of six Shorthorn heifers while the reserve ribbon went to the Boland family, Coraki via Lismore, with a pen of Charolais/ Hereford steers.
The results were broken down into incredible detail, a credit to the MacCue family for recording the nuts and bolts of better beef success.
It began with a live assessment of cattle in pens at Wilga, during an open day on August 21.
In the domestic competition the MacCue family placed first and third with pens of Angus steers while the Mayne family placed second with a pen of Angus steers.
“It was good to back up from last year’s results,” said Ben Mayne, who was away with his daughter the night of the awards ceremony. It gives us a point of difference – proving where we are in a commercial world and not just against Angus.”
Mr Mayne said the trials at Wilga feedlot had confirmed a lot about Texas Angus carcase quality. “We haven’t changed our breeding values in the last two generations but we now place a big emphasis on softer animals,” Mr Mayne said.
Feedlot totals were awarded to Texas Angus, first; Fuhrmann Cooke and Flynn, Mummulgum via Casino in second with a pen of Charolais/ Hereford; and the MacCue family in third with Angus.
Carcase Grid winner went to Jasen Somerville, Fig Tree Pastoral Clovass via Casino with a pen of Santa/ Hereford followed by MacCue Trading with Angus.
Carcase judging went to the MacCue family followed by Texas Angus and the Mayne family.
Profitability was awarded to Texas Angus Warialda and the all important taste test was awarded to Laurie and Jenny Musgrave, ‘Rocky Glen’ at Terry Hie Hie with Angus followed by David and Alice Woods’ pen of Angus out of Southern Border Partnership, Goondiwindi with the Jamieson family in third – also with a pen of Angus.
In the live assessment of export cattle the Vickery family, ‘Dobikin’ Bellata placed first and third with pens of Angus while the Boland family, Coraki, placed second with Charolais/ Hereford.
Feedlot totals were awarded to Manchee Agriculture in first and third with their Shorthorn heifers. Ambrose and Lisa Doolan’s Isla Angus, ‘Toorawandi’ at Coonabarabran placed second.
Carcase Grid winner went to the Boland family, Coraki, with a swag of producers tying for second including Helen Walker and David Lonergan from ‘Rio Grande’ Mungandi with Angus, Yugilbar Pastoral Company with Santa/Angus and Weebollabolla – Norland Pastoral with Shortorn as well as Manchee, Isla, and Dobikin.
Carcase judging went to Texas Angus, first; MacCue Trading, second; and the extended Boland family in third.
Profitability placings, first to third, were awarded to Manchee Agriculture, while the taste test went to Texas Angus in first, followed by Dobikin Pastoral and Crown State Pastoral with a pen of Angus.
Heifers do heavy lifting
Shorthorn heifers from Manchee Agriculture, ‘Wallah’, Narrabri did the heavy lifting at Wilga feedlot, Bellata, last winter with an incredible array of ribbons won in the export class during the Royal Agricultural Society’s 2017 Beef Challenge.
The 50 year old stud and commercial enterprise sent six pens of six from which they claimed second in live assessment, first and second in daily weight gain, second and third in the dressing percentage, among contenders on feed for 100 days in the export class.
Importantly, profit scores – combining the results of weight gain, cost of gain, dressing percentage and consistency in hitting the grid – measured 243 per cent above the average in this trial with the winning pen 343 per cent above the average.
“It’s the overall performance that’s important,” said stud principal John Manchee, who runs the business with his wife Liz.
Manchee heifers also took a clean sweep of the feedlot totals, first in the carcase judging, first to third in the profitability criteria and went on to claim champion team, individual and reserve individual champions.
“Heifers feed well,” said Mr Manchee. “And the RAS Beef Challenge is a true benchmarking tool which compares all breeds. They’re all fed the same. In the absence of any multi-breed data this sort of trial is the best we can do to see where we sit as a breeding program. There is no outside influence. It gives us a true indication of our genetics at work.
“More and more commercial producers are looking for overall profitability of their cow herd. That’s what we’re striving for. We believe we have the genetics to take the beef industry forward.”
Manchee Shorthorn stud, started by John’s grandfather, has always been pro-active in trials. “If you put good bulls on good bulls you end up with a consistent line and we pride ourselves on consistency,” he said.
Coastal cross delivers
Coastal beef producers made an impact at Tamworth, with four producers from the Richmond and Upper Clarence valleys taking home ribbons.
The Boland Family, East Coraki, submitted three pens of Charolais/ Hereford steers in the 100 day export class and snared second place on the hoof. They went on to win the carcase grid, placed third in the carcase judging and took home reserve champion team.
The family, who have been so busy planting sugar cane this month that they nearly didn’t make the awards dinner, put Elstow Charolais bulls over Hereford females sourced from the New England Tablelands and sold the progeny to Wilga at the Casino weaner sales just hours before Cyclone Debbie flooded their property.
Paul Fuhrmann, Mummulgum, with his sons-in-law Wayne Cooke and Blaire Flynn also sold weaners at Casino ahead of the flood, submitting two pens of Charolais over Santa/ Hereford steers that and pulled very consistent results in the domestic feedlot performance trial to claim second in that division and in the profitability assessment, which is a true test of across the board success.
The family operation uses Cass Charolais blood over first cross Santa/Hereford produced by Upper Tooloom breeders the Smith family, who use Tookey Creek and Yugilbar Santa bulls.
Jasen Somerville, Figtree Pastoral, Clovass via Casino tied with placed first in the carcase grid assessment – amongst teams and individuals – with first cross Santa Gertrudis/ Hereford steers.
Mr Somerville puts Tookey Creek and Yugilbar Santa bulls over pure Hereford females bred by the Smith Family, Upper Tooloom. He, like a lot of others on the coast, and swears by the cross saying it has a good role to play.
This year’s beef challenge was the first time he had entered and he was impressed by the level of detail and feedback he got back from the Wilga feedlot.
Jamie and Vanessa Smith, Urbenville, placed first in the individual carcase judging with a pen of Santa Gertrudis/ Hereford.
The couple use Tookey Creek, Yugilbar and Ideal Santas bulls over Hereford breeders bought in, often from Jamie’s own father Jim or his uncle John, who use Ironbark, Franco, Stannum, and Hardcastle sires.
Wilga principal Michael MacCue said this year’s Beef Challenge was remarkable for the general increase in scores. In the taste test, for example, the winning domestic pens were within the top one per cent of all cattle assessed under Meat Standards Australia.
In the domestic class it was Angus that excelled with Laurie and Jenny Musgrave, ‘Rocky Glen’ Terry Hie Hie on 68.07 points followed by Southern Border Partnership, Toobeah, Qld, on 67.8. According to Intercollegiate meat judging coach Demi Lollback, with the MLA, anything above 66 points sits in the nation’s top one percent.
In the export class, the winning carcase under taste test went to Texas Angus followed by Dobikin Pastoral, Belatta, who also submitted pens of Angus, purchased as weaners rather than bred.
Greg Watson, RAS cattle committee chairman was delighted that only a few points separated the winners.
“Australia is far in front,” he told attendees at the awards night in Tamworth. “We have the cattle that will serve the needs of the world and we must have confidence in our own abilities. It is a credit to everybody.”