The Herefords Australia Black Baldy Trial has revealed black baldy steers have a higher carcase weight, fat depth and eye muscle area than Angus.

The Herefords Australia Black Baldy Trial has revealed black baldy steers have a higher carcase weight, fat depth and eye muscle area than Angus.

Hereford genetics increase carcase value

Hereford genetics increase carcase value

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Hereford sired black baldy steers have more valuable carcasses, both with and without an eating quality premium, than their Angus sired siblings.

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Story sponsored by Herefords Australia.

Hereford sired black baldy steers have more valuable carcasses, both with and without an eating quality premium, than their Angus sired siblings.

The advantage has been quantified with the release of preliminary data from the Herefords Australia Black Baldy trial.

The trial ran over five years, from 2014 to 2019 (and continuing into 2020), with the heifers and steers born and raised at Musselroe Beef, in Tasmania.

Angus dams were joined to leading Angus and Hereford bulls by artificial insemination. They were raised under commercial conditions on pasture with no supplementary feeding.

A key aim of the project was to generate grassfed carcase data on the male progeny as well as the natural reproduction and longevity data of up to two calvings from the female progeny to aid breed genetic evaluation for the Hereford breed.

It quantified the performance benefits of reproduction, growth, carcass and eating quality of grassfed Hereford x Angus progeny against pure Angus progeny in the Australian production system.

The trial will continue to build a Hereford and crossbred reference population by genotyping large numbers of well-measured cattle.

It is a partnership between Herefords Australia, Adelaide University, Meat and Livestock Australia and Musselroe Beef.

Around 1100 cows were mated with many joined over multiple years to result in 1650 calves born across the project.

In 2019, 270 two-year-old steers were scanned on July 15 and slaughtered on July 25 at JBS Tasmania while 221 heifers were live scanned on February 18.

The traits measured at scanning included weight, eye muscle area, intramuscular fat, P8 fat depth and rib fat depth.

A Hereford sire can increase the profitability of a beef enterprise through both carcass value and maternal benefits.

A Hereford sire can increase the profitability of a beef enterprise through both carcass value and maternal benefits.

The steer carcasses were measured for loin eye muscle area, rib fat depth, marble score, MSA Index, meat colour, fat colour, pH and ossification.

Further testing was carried out by the University of New England meat science laboratory for IMF percentage, pH, cooking loss, shear force, brightness, redness and yellowness.

Live, carcase and meat eating quality data has been analysed by Professor Wayne and Dr Judith Pitchford of the University of Adelaide.

"The trial has confirmed Hereford cross Angus cattle have heavier carcasses at slaughter compared to purebred Angus and when carcass value was calculated based on saleable meat yield alone or with an assumed eating premium included, the Hereford crosses were more valuable to the producer," Professor Pitchford said.

"Black baldy steers had heavier carcasses which despite having lower marble scores were still worth more than Angus carcasses unless a specific Angus premium is paid."

At the live scan, Hereford sired steers were 3.4 percent heavier, had a 1.7 percent larger eye muscle area, and more rump fat. They had less intramuscular fat than the Angus sired calves.

"Black baldy steers had a higher hot standard carcass weight, P8 fat depth and eye muscle area," Professor Pitchford said.

Herefords Australia general manager Andrew Donoghue said these carcass results show Hereford sired steers maximise the profitability for a beef producer selling grass finished steers direct to processors.

"The carcase results, along with the extra growth and maternal benefits show the advantage of using a Hereford sire in your beef enterprise," Mr Donoghue said.

"It has also shown a Hereford sire can increase the profitability of a beef enterprise through both carcase value and maternal benefits, along with a low bull cost per calf produced."

Story sponsored by Herefords Australia.

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