- Hereford genetics excel in nation’s only grassfed trial
- Purebred Hereford steer leads the trial on 410kg liveweight
- Impressive results from Hereford infused steers
Six producers with purebred and infused Hereford steers have reached the first milestone of the nation’s only grass-fed steer trial, having completed the first weigh.
Purebred entrants in the 47th Lardner Park Steer Trial are Tarcombe Herefords, Tarwin Poll Herefords, Charellen Poll Herefords, Moorville and those with infused cattle are Riverbend (Black Baldy) and Hillridge Farm (Limousin/Simmental/Hereford).
The trial began at Lardner Park, Warragul, Victoria, in July with 70 mixed-bred steers entered from around Victoria from 26 producers.
The first weigh was on July 5 with a Poll Hereford steer entered by Steve Robinson, Moorville, Moorooduc, leading the field on 410kg liveweight. His second steer weighed 353kg.
A steer from the team entered by David Miekle, Tarwin Poll Herefords, Meeniyan, also recorded a respectable 385kg.
Historic trial’s modern requirements
Compliant with the Coles QA grass fed program, the aim is to achieve the best outcomes for both trial information and data collection, and for the purchase price on carcass meat when the trial is finished in late November.
The final grid specifications are 220-330kg hot standard carcass weight.
As the only grass-fed steer trial in Australia, producers across multiple states are provided the opportunity to assess cattle under independently controlled grazing conditions.
Entrants are required to declare cattle have not been grain fed since birth.
After their arrival, the steers were re-tagged, drenched, vaccinated and weighed and turned onto clean pasture supplemented by a molasses-based mineral feed.
Experience proves invaluable for Hereford breeder
It is the second Lardner Park trial Steve Robinson, who is a Hereford breeder and part-time butcher, has entered.
He said last year proved a valuable learning experience for him, with the steers entered too light and without the right fat cover.
This year’s steers are by homebred bulls going back to US sires MSU TCF Revolution 4R and TH 122 71I Victor 719T.
“I entered to compare my steers against others – they are a bit older and heavier this year, and hopefully will put the condition on,” Mr Robinson said.
Running 90 stud and commercial breeders, Steve and his wife Janie turn off purebred steers into the Pakenham store market and crossbred steers into the local prime market.
“I use AI to cross the Herefords with Limousin, Belgium Blue and Simmental genetics, then fatten them on grain before going into the fat market,” he said.
“The Herefords are good all-round cattle, easy to work with, have doing ability and finish well on grass.
“Our local butcher trade wants the Euro-Hereford cross with a fat depth of 4-6mm at 220-240kg carcass weight at 14 months of age.
“Consumers are wanting grass fed in their mind but they find grain fed eats better – it’s about demonstrating that flavour, tenderness and eating quality can all be achieved on grass.”
Steve is always looking for new bloodlines to breed his own bulls and selects for a balance of traits including calving ease and eye muscle area.
The second Lardner Park trial weighing will take place on August 9.