A pen of Hereford steers entered by Devon Court Herefords have won the weight gain section of the 70-day Trade class in the RNA’s 2023 Paddock to Palate Competition and Wagyu Challenge.
The pen of Herefords were the only purebred team of any breed to win a weight gain section of the competition.
The impressive pen of six steers averaged 3.121kg per day with one of the steers topping the individual weight gain section with an average daily weight gain (ADG) of 3.5kg, the largest ADG across all sections of the 2023 competition.
The excellent result backs up the success Devon Court had in the 2021 competition where they claimed champion and reserve 70-day carcase with a Hereford and black baldy steer respectively.
Devon Court stud principal Tom Nixon was thrilled with this year’s feedlot result and hopes to replicate their success in the carcase competition once again when the final awards are presented in August.
Hosted at the JBS Beef City Feedlot in Toowoomba, the Paddock to Palate competition offers producers a valuable opportunity to benchmark their cattle in a commercial feedlot setting.
The three-phase competition comprises of best aggregate weight gain; carcase; and MSA eating quality, with the 2023 competition attracting 875 cattle across three classes; 100-day Export, 70-day Trade and 100-day HGP-free Export.
The winning Hereford steers were sired by Devon Court bulls and out of commercial cows with all steers having been DNA tested and sire verified.
According to Mr Nixon the steers were mainly selected for the competition on their phenotypic traits as the genetics are locked in at that point.
“We made a phenotypic choice on hair type, structure and overall outlook, once they were fat we wanted them to be a good animal to look at,” Mr Nixon said.
Mr Nixon was delighted with the result and to have achieved the win with a purebred Hereford team.
“Coming up against the other breeds and crosses, this shows that Herefords are well within market spec and what feedlots should be wanting,” Mr Nixon said.
Along with the winning pen of Herefords, Devon Court also entered five pens of black baldy steers (also sired by Devon Court bulls) in the competition, two pens in each of the 100-day classes and one pen in the 70-day trade class.
Continuing Devon Court’s strong results in the 70-day class, the black baldy pen placed fourth overall out of 22 pens with an ADG of 2.948kg and in the individual top 30 ADG 70-day class placings the Devon Court Hereford and black baldy steers finished first, third, fifth, 12th, 17th, 20th, 21st and 25th with all but the 25th placed steer making over 3kg per day.
In the 100-day Export class the two pens of Devon Court black baldy steers placed fourth and seventh out of 33 teams averaging 2.735kg and 2.697kg per day with individual placings of sixth, eighth, 10th and 11th with all individually placed steers making over 3kg per day.
In the 100-day HGP Free Export class the Devon Court black baldy teams finished 10th and 12th from 28 teams with ADGs of 2.160kg and 2.093 and individual placings of 10th and 24th.
The Devon Court win in the 2023 competition is the first time purebred Herefords have won a weight gain section of the RNA Paddock to Palate Competition since a team entered by Sevenbardot Herefords in the early 2000s.
Mr Nixon would like to see more Hereford breeders involved in commercially based competitions around the country.
“No matter the outcome having the breed in front of people is so important, what Hereford breeders have we have to get out and show it to the industry,” Mr Nixon said.