THE Falls paddock to plate producers Tony Lomax and Anna Fearnley say they have improved both eating quality and profits with the inclusion of Bazadais genetics in their Angus-based cow herd.
Operating from a 130 hectare mountain-top property at The Falls in the Border Ranges of southern Queensland, Tony and Anna have developed the successful business, Carabeen Beef, producing a premium grassfed branded product.
Tony said they were originally motivated to look outside the square, switching from Angus to Bazadais sires to ‘fill out the cuts’ on their 440-460kg 14-month-old sale cattle.
“We knew that Bazadais were light boned and the fullblood cattle could yield over 75 per cent,” Tony said.
“To our surprise and delight the Bazadais/Angus cross progeny combined the best eating qualities of both breeds – finely grained, lightly marbled, tender beef with an even fat cover of 5-8mm when finished on grass.
“The infusion of Bazadais tenderness raised the eating quality of our beef to a whole new level and quickly opened the doors of high-end restaurants.”
Tony said the switch to Bazadais genetics had also ticked the profit box.
“Our Angus yielded a very acceptable 61 per cent but are consistently outclassed by their crossbred cousins; the Bazadais/Angus cross weigh 11pc more at 200 days and 400 days and yield an impressive 73pc,” Tony said.
“The 11pc increase in weight and the 12pc increase in yield means, very simply, a lot more profit for no extra time, effort or money.
“The infusion of Bazadais gives us a win on eating quality and a win on kilos of saleable meat.”
Tony said the next challenge was to source Bazadais genetics, which would deliver the eye-popping length and the huge eye muscle area at an early age that characterised the Bazadais breed.
Ongoing performance recording and in-herd EBVs to guide sire selection resulted in the development of the Carabeen Bazadais Stud.
“We are passionate about producing premium grass-fed beef; finely grained, lightly marbled and tender,” Tony said.
Quality and provenance both serve critical roles in the Carabeen Beef brand.
“When we began our paddock to plate business, Angus beef was a safe, well recognised, easy-to-sell product,” Tony said.
“However, being a small cattle enterprise, we quickly realised that it was essential for us to be at the top of the game. We knew we had to offer beef of the highest eating quality using cattle which yielded well.”
Tony said customers also enjoyed the story behind the brand: its dual Scottish and Medievel French origins through to its present-day ethical and sustainable production.
“We have been able to develop and nurture a one-on-one relationship between the farmer and our city-based customers; to tell the story of farming where enterprise, quality and care take pride of place.”