THE economic and welfare benefits of best-practice HGP implant procedure were highlighted in an important award presented during the SmartBeef 2017 feedlot conference in Armidale earlier today.
Coopers Animal Health in 2014 introduced its Revalor Top Gun program, designed to acknowledge feedlot induction crews for excellence in HGP implant performance.
Each year since, there has been consistent progress in results, with only a narrow band separating the 25 feedyards participating this year. The average implant retention rate across all entries improved further on 2016, to around 95 percent.
So close was the competition that four yards shared the award in 2017 – each with only four ‘defective’ implants all year.
Winning the ‘Top Gun’ bragging rights this year were the induction teams from Wonga Plains, Teys Condamine, Kurrawong and JBS Mungindi, all located in Queensland.
In a classic demonstration of responding to feedback, this year’s Encouragement Award went to Teys Charlton feedlot, which went from nineteenth place at the end of the first quarter, to fifth at the end of the assessment year. After reviewing their earlier implant processes, the induction team organised some training with Coopers, and the results were in clear evidence in this year’s overall outcome.
Minor placings this year were filled by Condabri feedlot near Condamine, second with just five fails all year, and last year’s winner Gundamain feedlot near Eugowra in NSW, with just seven defective implants all year.
Last year’s ‘Top Gun’ finished with a 98.7pc retention rate, but that was easily exceeded by all four winning yards this year, well above 99pc.
The Top Gun competition audits HGP implant performance and importantly, offers feedlots an industry benchmark to compare their own performance against, while rewarding those induction teams that deliver consistent and industry-leading results over a 12-month cycle.
The yards involved this year, of various sizes across Australia, represented a one-time feeding capacity of around 280,000 head. Competitors were audited up to eight times for HGP performance between October last year and September just passed.
Scores were based on implant retention, any evidence of abscesses, hygiene practises and implant technique. The feedlot with the highest percentage of ‘good’ implants over 12 months was declared the winner.
“The award is designed to reward and acknowledge feedlot induction staff – people who work hard and are not often recognised for the work they do,” Coopers national account manager Rob Baines said.
“Feedlot performance is directly affected by their quality of workmanship and attention to detail. HGP implant performance can be a major profit driver in the feedlot sector, and the Top Gun program aims to monitor, help improve, and reward those people who most impact on a yard’s implant performance,” he said.
The message is that some basic training and the use of simple procedures, including good hygiene practices, can lift the implant retention performance considerably.
“The real importance in this competition is not just about encouraging those guys doing a great job in maintaining already high retention rates, but also about improving the performance of those towards the bottom,” Mr Baines said.
“That’s where the real progress was seen this year – the lift at the lower end – which have gone from scores in the mid-70s to +90 percent retention. But equally, at the top, five yards scored perfect scores of 100pc in different quarters during the year.”
The four feedlots tieing for first place (see photos of induction teams below) now get to proudly hang the Coopers Top Gun perpetual shields in their feedlot offices for the next 12 months, and the feedlot induction teams receive individual prizes from Coopers/MSD Animal Health.