As you have all been following, I have been focussed on collecting and collating as much commercial carcase data as possible. Through voluntary contributions, we now have 35,000 MSA Hereford and Hereford cross carcase records from QLD to Tasmania.
This data allows us to do a number of things:
- Benchmark the individual data contributions with the rest of the breed
- Benchmark the breed against the national and state MSA grading data benchmarks
- Opens up commercial conversations about the carcase performance of our breed
Most recently, this data has also opened up conversations about how we can link all data in the supply chain back to the breeders. I recommend the use of this data when you are talking with your commercial bull buying clients, commercial customers and your neighbours (or anyone) who may challenge the carcase credentials of our breed. I would also welcome any data contributions your bull buying clients may have as I feel this may add value to your relationship with your customer and also build our evidence of superior carcase performance using Hereford sires. We have quality to burn and it is vital we get this message out to the industry.
In analysing the MSA grading data, it becomes clear that we have a powerful data set to review where we are going well and where we need to improve. Like every breed, there is variation however if we can identify the key drivers to improve and breed more of the top end cattle, we will be in great shape for the future.
Table 1: Young cattle, Grass Fed, from MSA data range across key traits
As this table shows, to achieve higher MSA index outcomes (key payment specification), we need to deliver heavier weight at younger age and the more marbling the better. The traits in the MSA model are additive so we must not single trait select. What this also shows is that our average MSA index outcome is in the top 25% of all MSA graded cattle nationally. Considering the data has come from central QLD to Tasmania and covers a broad range of seasonal conditions – including the worst drought in living memory, this is a very good result.
Graph 1: Hereford MSA Index Distribution
As this graph highlights, the big opportunity is to reduce the variation, continue to shift the curve to the right and produce more of the animals that will be worth more to the consumer. That will drive value and profitability for our customers and drive demand for Hereford cattle. This data is highly valuable as it provides data and evidence that our breed delivers when it comes to eating quality. The more data I can receive the better. I encourage all members to reach out to your bull buying clients to see if we can continue to build on this data as it is a very compelling story.