BREEDING MORE PROFITABLE CATTLE
In June this year we completed our pilot run processing NB Genetics steers for benchmarking and grading feedback. It has been a process in the making since 2016 to first breed the seedstock genetics we wanted, and then cross them over a typical run of commercial Angus cows. This was to show an example of what can be achieved by most commercial producers with just the influence of specific bull criteria that ultimately return greater production efficiencies across the whole of supply chain. We also wanted to show that we could present higher quality beef to end consumers to improve their eating experience. These steers are the spring born contemporary brothers to rising two year old bulls that sell August 10th.
We have dedicated close to a decade of research to be able to break it down simply and share the results we received to make it achievable for commercial producers to follow suit to not only aim for greater returns on your sale stock, but to also maximise efficiencies in your production of each kg of beef.
The MSA grading model is recognised as world leading for its attachment to consumer preferences and a data set that places it into a league of its own. It's difficult to think that it will be matched anytime soon, so it's a real benefit we are able to use this model against our processed steers.
We fed a line of 21 steers at a first class 13,000 SCU feedlot in Queensland's Western Downs that were sired by both AI sires and homebred bulls. While a line of 21 steers is not big enough to quantify comparative individual data, it showed overall trends to meet our criteria of production goals and value gains. During a time of challenging lot feeding conditions over the summer and autumn of 2022, our HGP free steers recorded an ADG of 1.95kg/day on 12.3kg/day as fed with an overall conversion of 4.9:1 on DM basis.
We kept an eye on carcass yield but as we learned it is a statistic with too much variation due to gut fill and could only be accurately quantified through an extended curfew phase which is not something we would ever consider to gain results at the cost of animal discomfort leading to less disables such as PH influences prior to harvest.
At grading we were exceptionally pleased to receive results that placed the group in the top 10% of the national 2021/2022 average with a MSA Index score of 64.93. Breaking down the data further, we scored:
AUS-Meat Marbling Score - 3 (superior to national average)
Ossification - 130 (superior to national average)
Rib Fat - 7mm (superior to national average)
Hot Standard Carcase Weight (HSCW) - 353kg
Eye Muscle Area (EMA) - 80
pH - 5.5 (optimal level)
...all of which contributed to a shelf product determined by consumer survey to be of optimum quality.
When it came down to the business end of the program, we were able to get into a grid paying $1/kg more which equated to $353/head gain purely on the back of the market gains and not taking into consideration the production efficiencies of calving ease, fast early growth on fertile moderate frame cows, efficient birth to backgrounding to finishing weight gains and conversions and the right fat disposition (Intramuscular) for dietary gains of high density lipids breaking down cholesterol and the tenderness and flavour attributes that make it the premium protein available for human consumption.
NB GEN'S CARCASE ATTRIBUTES EQUATED TO A $353 PER HEAD INCREASED DOLLAR VALUE!