A purebred grass fed Hereford steer has won a bronze medal in the Australian Food Awards.
A striploin from the yearling steer was entered by Matt and Debbie Kelley, Warragundi Beef, Curruabubula, NSW, in the RASV Royal Melbourne Australian Food Awards competition.
Mr Kelley said the 12-13 month old steer had a dressed weight of 180kg and scored 64.9 on the MSA Index (top 5%).
“It was the first time we had entered and didn’t have any expectations, so to win a medal was quite unbelievable considering we were up against large processors,’’ he said.
“The MSA Index score shows we need to be getting this breed out and about to events like this as the facts are there.’’
Mr Kelley said the docility of the breed contributed to the carcass quality.
“We transport our cattle direct to the processors and I believe genetics also play a big role,’’ he said.
“We are starting to trace the MSA Index data through on each animal and will submit that to Herefords Australia.
“We are also tracking the progeny of the high profile sires we have bought in the last few years to see if the MSA Index correlates with intramuscular fat percentage.
“There are opportunity and tools available to us, with no excuse for not taking the breed forward.’’
Warragundi’s 450-cow commercial herd supplies heifers and steers to both a natural pasture fed and 100 day grain fed brand.
Demand for the branded beef is outstripping supply with renovations set to expand their retail butchery in Quirindi and a second outlet to be opened in Armidale.
Mr Kelley said acreage has been expanded to increase cattle numbers.
Warragundi value adds grain through an on-farm feedlot, with cattle finished to a dressed weight of 220kg.
Mr Kelley said fat coverage across the loin area plus good carcase attributes made the ideal animal for the butcher.