Queensland Country Life
Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Raff maximises value

Heavy hitters: Raff Angus produces heavier cattle on its King Island, Tasmania, pasture, and, in turn, plenty of profit.
Heavy hitters: Raff Angus produces heavier cattle on its King Island, Tasmania, pasture, and, in turn, plenty of profit.

This is branded content for Raff Angus.

The breeding belief behind Raff Angus stud cattle celebrates profitability across the beef supply chain, achieved through its performance goals over the hook, producing high yielding and big carcase weight beef bodies.

This year, Raff sold its first fully certified organic King Island grass-fed steers, with some excellent sale results. The steers produced a 382.7-kilogram carcase weight average at just 20 to 21 months of age.

According to stud principal Andrew Raff, in comparison to the average national benchmark provided by the Meat and Livestock Australia myMSA dashboard, for all animals processed nationally on the sale day of their organic steers, with the same ossification score less than 230, grass-fed and no hormone growth promotants, the Raff steers measured up with some outstanding results, well above the national average standards.

"The Raff steers yielded an 82kg heavier carcase with more marbling and fat," Mr Raff said. "On that day's grid price, excluding the certified organic premium, these Raff Angus steers were $738 per head more profitable when compared nationally. This equates to more than $27,000 extra value per double deck trailer load."

These Raff Angus steers were $738 per head more profitable when compared nationally.

- Andrew Raff, Raff Angus

Processed across the water, by Greenham at its certified Smithton plant in Tasmania, the top carcase weight steer was 456kg.

The over-the-hook results confirm the success of the Raff Angus operation, with big weighing carcases, which maintain the carcase quality of the Angus breed. The top marbling steer recorded a solid marble score of six.

Mr Raff said taking advantage of the Angus breed's natural, inherent qualities of calving ease and carcase quality, Raff Angus capitalises on these Angus traits, and through selective breeding has enhanced the animals.

"We prioritise the selection of animals that weigh heavier at younger ages and produce bodies of beef with big carcase weights and high yields."

As such, Mr Raff said, the Raff herd have lower net-feed-intake-feedlot estimated breeding values, indicating their animals are expected to eat less feed per day, relative to their weight and rate of weight gain. Ultimately, the dollars per head at an end-carcase standpoint is the real profitability indicator for operators.

"With this breeding belief, we know cow-and-calf operators, backgrounders, feedlotters and processors can all be profitable," Mr Raff said.

Based on King Island, Raff Angus can focus its selection criteria entirely on the commercial production of premium grass-fed beef, using real carcase feedback on the herd's performance.

"We choose not to breed low birthweight, low mature cow weight, high marbling and positive fat cattle," Mr Raff said. "We believe these types of animals restrict weight-gaining potential for the cow-and-calf producer, backgrounder and feedlotter, and they have the inherent negative correlation on carcase weight and yield for the processor."

Mr Raff said cull females are a big part of any breeding program's annual income. With information accessed from MLA myMSA dashboard and benchmarked against the national comparison for all females processed over the past 12 months, the Raff Angus cull females proved that while maintaining fertility and ease of calving, heavier weighing cows can have a substantial positive effect on profitability.

"With the same ossification score our cull cows yielded a 94kg heavier carcase with double the marbling and more fat," he said. "On current grid prices of $7.50 per kilogram, these Raff Angus females were $705 per head more profitable when compared nationally."

While the Angus breed is well known for having the natural, inherent ability to marble, and it is well documented of its benefits, the Raff family's actual raw performance indicates they have the genetic capability to produce such quality.

A mob of 22-month-old, pregnancy-tested-in-calf, autumn Raff heifers were ultrasound scanned for carcase in January of this year. With a heavy average weight of 666kg these heifers' intramuscular fat percentage scanning results were outstanding.

Mr Raff said 10 per cent of this mob recorded an IMF of 8.3pc, being the highest reading on the scanning technology, and 40pc recorded an IMF of 8pc and higher.

With proven quality carcase results that have increased profitability for Raff Angus, buyers in the market looking for fresh Angus genetics to boost their breeding herd are highly anticipating the 2022 Raff Angus "Bulls with a Difference" Spring Sale.

The sale will be held at Mundibulanga, Drillham, Queensland, on Friday, August 19, with the sale getting under way at 1pm.

There is a total of 110 bulls on offer, consisting of 50 rising two-year-old bulls and 60 18-month-old bulls, sired by a number of home-bred bulls.

There is also a large selection of Raff Napoleon N327 sons on offer.

The sale will also feature descendants from the Hoff Scotch Cap lines, direct sons from United Kingdom AI sire imports, as well as grandsons to these bulls.

"If you want muscle and big weight gains off grass then these should certainly be of interest," Mr Raff said.

Interfaced with AuctionsPlus and Elite Livestock Auctions online platforms, the sale promises commercial clients confidence in their value for money buying Raff genetics, backed by a dedicated 57 years of enhanced selection breeding prioritising high yielding and heavy weighing carcases to maximise profitability.