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CRC Improving Returns in Cattle Production

29 August 2008

AUSTRALIA - Grow calves as fast as possible to a target weight to generate the greatest financial return per hectare. That’s one of the simple, yet effective, messages generated from a Beef CRC research program conducted at ‘Kooba Station’ in southern New South Wales.

The trial, one of four carried out across southern Australia, looked at the interaction between genetics and nutrition, and their effects on meat quality and subsequent profitability.

Sires from a number of breeds were selected for their genetic potential for retail beef yield (RBY) and marbling (intramuscular fat – IMF).

Charolais, Limousin and Angus cattle with high EBVs for RBY represented the high yielding types while Wagyu and Angus with high EBVs for IMF represented the high marbling types. Red Wagyu and Angus with high EBVs for both yield and marbling were also used in the trial.

At weaning, the steer progeny were placed into either a high or low growth group and grown out on pasture to feedlot entry weight of about 400kgs (14-16 months of age for the fast growth group and 19-21 months for the slow growth group).

The steers were then fed for 100 days at Jindalee Feedlot with the carcases targeted for the high quality domestic market. The trial found fast growth from weaning to feedlot entry was the most profitable for the beef producer. Jeff House, NSW Department of Primary Industries, Forbes said the research confirms that selection for EBVs works.

“Results indicate there is little value in using Wagyu genetics over Angus sires with high intramuscular fat EBVs when breeding steers for the domestic market,” Mr House said.

“As expected, the study also found that steers produced from European sires had higher retail beef yield and an expected higher $ return, but this was accompanied by a reduction in carcase fatness and marbling levels.” Mr House said producers should be using selection tools such as EBVs to choose the correct animals for their breeding program.

“You can improve marbling without relying on Wagyu genetics; and higher yielding genotypes such as Limousin and Charolais can deliver carcases of acceptable eating quality,” Mr House said.

Producers can hear more about the Beef CRC research at a field day on Thursday 11th September 2008 at ‘Burrawang West Station’, Ootha. The cost is $15 per head (or $25 per family/property) and includes lunch and morning tea. The field day will run from 8.30 am to 3.30 pm with live cattle demonstrations.

TheCattleSite News Desk



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