WESTERN Australia has the reputation for producing some of the best grass and grainfed yearling domestic beef in Australia, and that status was heavily reinforced when the Beef 2018 National carcase competition results were announced in Rockhampton last night.
Western Australian entries blitzed the major awards and claimed four of seven class results across the competition, which saw entries totalling 1077 head from all Australian states.
WA entries have now claimed the past three Beef Expo carcase competition grand championships, tracing back to 2012.
Any east coast visitor to Perth viewing retail butchery and supermarket chilled cabinets cannot help but be impressed by the standard of MSA young beef on offer, and that was clearly reflected in last night’s competition outcomes.
The big winner on the night was Bruce Campbell, a cattle producer from Cooara, near Keysbrook, an hour’s drive south of Perth.
The Campbell family exhibited grand champion pen and individual champion carcase, from a pen of Charolais x Angus steers which were winners from the lightweight domestic (180-260kg carcase weight) pasture fed class.
The steers were owner-bred, using AI or Charolais bulls produced from semen sourced from Australia and across the world. Mr Campbell selects for more moderate frame score, softer type Charolais paternal genetics for easier finishing. The winning entries were by North American sire, Cheyanne Glenn.
The calves were slaughtered straight off their dams at 9-10 months of age, having spent the previous few months on good summer pastures from November to January.
They displayed remarkable consistency producing carcase weights from 226-230kg, adding valuable bonus points. All scored well for oss (100), marbling (mostly score 1s), and produced high MSA index score from 63.91 to 64.88. Both of the Campbell family’s teams, placed first and second in this class, were in the top 1pc nationally for MSA index. Eye muscle areas were 75-79sq cm, delivering estimated lean meat yields of 60.55pc to 61.98pc.
Most of the Campbell family’s turnoff are either sold off their mothers as stores, or fed-on on pasture and pellet based supplement (as seasons dictate) for the domestic market at around 220kg, either through Harvey Beef or Dardenup Butchering Co, from October to February. The winning entries this year died at Harvey Beef, first time processor participants in this competition.
In a remarkable feat, the Campbell family won the same carcase grand championship at this event in 2015. The business only last week also exhibited champion carcase at the local Harvey show, and is a consistent performer in the Perth Royal carcase competitions.
“I participate in carcase competitions primarily for the feedback,” Mr Campbell said. “I like backing my own judgement, and it delivers a great thrill to win a major national title like this.”
“The selection process starts nine months before they are born, in matching the right sire-line genetics with the right cow.”
Three other WA exhibitors scored first places in National Carcase Competition results:
TW Pearson & Son also claimed both MSA Index awards last night, with an individual Angus carcase producing an index score of 68.32 points – easily within the top one percent of all MSA carcases graded across Australia – and two others making up the pen producing index scores of 67.10 and 66.40.
The event proved to be a truly national competition this year, with all states bar South Australia figuring among placegetters in the seven classes.
Class winners from other states this year included:
Competition judge, senior Meat Standards Australia grader Janine Lau said 40 percent of the carcases in the 2018 completion were in the top 25pc of MSA index results.
Ms Lau visited 21 plants across all Australian states to grade entries – sometimes twice – making a total of 33 competition grading visits over the past ten months.
While the standard among grainfed entries held up to, or in some cases exceeded previous competitions, some grassfed entries followed the mixed seasons seen in some pastoral regions of eastern Australia this year.
Some of the classes had up to 150 entries, meaning any exhibitor whose carcases made the ‘first page’ in the results catalogue distributed last night achieved an outstanding result, in itself.
“It was a privilege to grade the absolute tops of producers’ herds,” Ms Lau said.
“These cattle were considerably above any general runs of cattle graded through the year, in a short time-frame like this,” she said.