Herefords have proven their superior grass-fed performance by taking out the carcase and eating quality sections of the Lardner Park 2022 Steer Trial.
The 47th steer trial began at Warragul, Victoria, in July 2022 with 69 steers of mixed breeds entered from around the state from 26 producers. The winners were announced on March 24 at Farm World, Lardner Park.
Purebred Hereford entries were:
- Overall runner-up in the combined weight gain and carcase awards
- Winner of the highest carcase score as a pair
- Winner of the highest eating quality (MSA Index) as a pair
- Highest dressing percentage of 57.5 per cent with a Hereford infused entry
Purebred entrants were Tarcombe Herefords, Tarwin Poll Herefords, Charellen Poll Herefords, and Moorville Herefords and those with infused cattle Riverbend (Black Baldy) and Hillridge Farm (Limousin/Simmental/Hereford).
David Meikle, Tarwin Poll Herefords, Meeniyan, entered two teams with the top pair of steers recording individual average daily weight gains of 1.46 and 1.54kg to give an overall pair average daily weight gain of 1.50kg at the fifth and final weighing, and overall second place in the combined weight gain and carcase award on 228.32 points.
The Tarwin Hereford team was 1.53 points behind the overall winners, two Angus steers on 1.55kg/day from Tim Wilson, Amphitheatre Pastoral Partnership, Labertouche however took out the overall carcase score as a pair. David Meikle, Tarwin Poll Hereford’s winning team had a carcase score of 87.58 and 83.78 points, carcase weight of 317 and 327kg, eye muscle area of 84 and 90sqcm respectively and MSA Index of 60.13 and 58.46.
Stan and Denise Walker, Charellan Poll Herefords, Pearsondale, won the highest carcase score for the pair on 90.66 points.
The Charellan steers had an overall daily gain of 1.26kg.
Tim Hayes, Tarcombe Herefords, Ruffy, won the highest eating quality (MSA Index) with MSA Index results of 63.79 and 62.9. The carcase weights of the winning steers for eating quality were 254 and 253kg, eye muscle area 78 and 65sqcm.
Tarcombe entered two teams with the overall pair of steers daily gains of 1.10 and 1.22kg. The individual gains ranged from 1.08 to 1.23kg.
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.
Compliant with the Coles QA grass fed program, the aim is to achieve the best outcomes for both during trial information and data collection, and purchase price on carcase meat when the trial is finished in late November.
The final grid specifications are 220-330kg hot standard carcase weight with 8-14mm of P8 fat.
The herd was grazed on ryegrass-based pasture with supplements with the average weight gain being 1.18kg a day, with individual steer weight gains averaging from 0.6kg to 1.67kg a day.
The highest dressing percentage of 57.5 per cent was a Limousin/Simmental/Hereford cross, while the largest eye muscle area was 97sqcm for a Devon steer. A Hereford steer had the second largest eye muscle at 90sqcm.
David Meikle regularly competes in carcase competitions and the Lardner Park steer trial.
He maintains a focus on traits needed for sound practical cattle, including adequate weight gain, ability to finish, tractability, mothering ability and structural soundness.
“Hereford cattle have been consistently reliable in this competition. We make our selections in June and over the 10 years the cattle always meet the specifications.
“This competition is there to be dominated by Hereford cattle and I would love to see more commercial purebred and crossbred entries from around Victoria and interstate.”
Mr Hayes, Tarcombe, said the eating quality win reaffirmed the stud’s breeding focus on increasing muscle, marbling, carcase quality and finishing ability.
“To have Herefords represented among the winners in the weight gain, carcase and eating quality says a lot – it is not an easy competition to win as there are some large commercial operations supplying the supermarket trade competing with teams,” Mr Hayes said.
“I encourage more Hereford breeders to get behind this trial.”