Herefords continue to be stand-outs for weight gain off grass in the 2022 Lardner Park Steer Trial at Warragul in Victoria’s Gippsland region.
The trial began in July with 70 mixed breed steers entered by 26 producers.
The best performing steers on weight gain continue to be those entered by David Miekle, Tarwin Poll Herefords, Meeniyan, and an Angus team from Tim Wilson, Amphitheatre Pastoral Partnership, Labertouche.
The Tarwin Poll Hereford team have averaged 1.43kg to 2.03kg daily and have overall averages of 1.69kg and 1.44kg a day.
The trial site measured over 200mm of rain in August with the steers grazing on new forage barley and an Italian ryegrass mix sown over the Autumn, and supplemented by Anipro and dry licks from Performance Feeds.
The overall average daily gain for the trial was 1.4kg per head. At the third weighing on September 13, Charellen Poll Herefords had an average daily gain of 1.37 and 1.94kg and an average daily gain across the trial to date of 1.17 and 1.56kg. The steers are averaging 1.36kg a day.
The pair from Steve Robinson, Moorville Poll Herefords, Moorooduc, recorded an average daily gain of 1.51kg and 1.29kg and an average daily gain across the trial of 1.46 and 1.23kg to average 1.34kg a day.
Rob Hayes’ steers from Tarcombe Herefords, Ruffy, have average daily gains from 1.23 to 1.46kg and overall averages of 1.29kg and 1.22kg a day. Barb Stewart’s black baldy team from Riverbend have recorded 1.23kg and 1.49kg and an overall average of 1.33kg a day.
Lardner Park is the only grassfed steer trial in Australia and producers are provided the opportunity to assess cattle under independently controlled grazing conditions. Compliant with the Coles QA grassfed program, the aim is to achieve the best outcomes during trial information and data collection, and purchase price on carcase meat when the trial finishes in late November. The final grid specifications are 220-330kg hot standard carcase weight.
Stan and Denise Walker, Charellan Poll Herefords, Pearsondale, had few steers to choose from this year as the drop was mostly heifers, but have entered two late calves sired by Ravensdale Trooper L179 and Ravensdale Spark M016. Last year the Walkers’ two steers recorded an overall average daily gain of 1.31kg in the 2021 Lardner Park trial, when the average across all steers was 1.17kg a day.
“The Lardner Park Trial is a good educational trial with all the steers on the same pasture and normally the Herefords perform well,” Mr Walker said.
“This year we entered to get an idea of how they kill out. Generally our steers are sold direct to the Greenham Never Ever program at 450-500kg liveweight.”
“The feedback from Greenhams is excellent. We are trying to get our IMF up above average. We recently had two cull three-year-old heifers kill out at an average of 411kg carcase weight and return an average of $3789 or 920c/kg.”
One heifer had a marble score of two, eye muscle area of 90sqcm, 8mm of fat on the rib and a MSA Index of 61.66.
Mr Walker has partnered with four other stud principals to form the Gippsland Performance Herefords sale. Charellan used semen from the Herefords Australia Super Sire Elite M202 Q008 and already has calves on the ground that are targeted for the 2023 sale.
Mr Walker spotted Q008 before the bull had been inducted as a Super Sire and was impressed by his data set and outcross genetics. “The criteria set for the sale is strict, so we need sires well above breed average for the BREEDPLAN traits,” he said.
“Generally, I look for breed average for birthweight, growth, above breed average for IMF and eye muscle area, and in the top 30 per cent of the breed for the Southern Self Replacing Index.”
The fourth weighing of steers in the Lardner Park Trial will take place on October 18.