Good all-round performance in the feedlot and in the chillers was the formula that delivered the winners in all four classes in this year’s RNA Paddock to Palate Performance competitions announced in Brisbane this evening.
Charolais cross, Angus x Ultrablack and Shorthorn entries topped the three 70 and 100-day grainfed performance classes, while Fullblood Japanese Wagyu entries were the ultimate winners in the 2023 Wagyu Challenge.
Almost 900 cattle representing a vast spectrum of beef breeds across British, European, and tropically-adapted genetics, plus F1-Fullblood Wagyu competed in this year’s Performance competitions, drawn from breeders across southern and Central Queensland and northern NSW.
In contrast with last year when winter feeding conditions were atrocious due to persistent wet weather, cattle performed strongly in the feedlots this year.
Wagyu entries were fed for 400 days at Smithfield feedlot near Proston, while the 70-day domestic and 100-day grainfed (HGP-treated and untreated) classes were fed at JBS Beef City outside Toowoomba.
Entries were judged on a combination of feedlot weightgain, carcase quality and eating quality, and in the case of Wagyu, carcase value.
Duaringa produces overall Wagyu champions
Veteran Queensland Wagyu breeder Paul Harris topped this year’s Wagyu Challenge, with a pen of Fullblood steers from his Sunland Cattle Co operations based near Duaringa in Central Queensland.
Sunland Fullblood entries finished first and third in overall competition standings, as well as claiming first and third in the beef taste-test division, third for carcase quality and third overall for carcase value.
The six Sunland steers produced average carcase weights of 431kg, marbling scores from 8.2 to 12.8 and eye muscle areas from 96sq cm to 125sq cm. The six carcases averaged $6886 in value. Stand by for a separate profile on Sunland’s operations and Paul Harris’s breeding objectives.
Making a strong statement for the meat quality potential in the emerging Polled Wagyu purebred segment were entries from Darren Hamblin and Poll Wagyu Pty Ltd, which topped the carcase quality division and produced the champion carcase, finishing runners-up in the overall standings as well as for carcase value.
Poll Wagyu’s champion carcase displayed a camera-recorded marbling score of 13.3, IMF of 45pc, eye muscle area of 95sq cm and exceptional fineness of marbling, for a total carcase score of 97 points. Carcase weight was 367kg.
Hewitt Pastoral Enterprises, exhibiting second cross Wagyu entries, topped the Wagyu weightgain section with gains of 1.294kg/day, and carcase value averaging $6973. The single highest value carcase in the competition was exhibited by Ross and Robin Shannon, Taldra Cattle Co, with a second cross Wagyu with a value of $8282.
As expected, crossbred Wagyu entries held a clear adantage in weightgain performance over higher content entries.
Industry leader takes out 70 day section
Former beef industry leader David Crombie took out the overall results in the 70-day section for the third time since 2018, with a pen of Angus X Ultrablack steers bred on his property near Warwick.
Consistency was the name of the game for the Crombie’s Aurelian Pastoral Co, coming second in the weight gain section with average daily gain of 2.955kg. The six steers had an average of carcase weight 319.5kg and average dressing percentage of 54.94 and an MSA index of 53.95.
Some other well-known paddock to palate names featured in the 70-day section including Russell Pastoral Operations in second and third overall, with a pen of Charolais cross, and Devon Court Herefords in fourth. Devon Court featured heavily in the weight gain section recording average daily gain of 3.121kg (see earlier report on weighgain results).
New South Wales Department of Primary Industries steers also had success, taking out the carcase and the eating quality sections of the 70 day competition and coming in fifth and sixth overall. Both pens of NSWDPI steers returned MSA index scores averaging 54.9 and 54.76.
Palgrove and Morgans continue success
Competition heavyweights G Morgan & Co continued their Paddock to Palate success taking out the 100 day grainfed and the 100-day grainfed (no HGP) sections respectively.
Both had cattle in the two sections, with Palgrove returning a score of 767.11 and Morgans finishing on 741.25 in their respective winning sections.
Palgrove’s winning pen came second in the weight gain section with an ADG of 2.895kg and second in the carcase section with a score of 556. G Morgan & Co came second overall with Juandah Grazing winning the weight gain section with an ADG of 3.057kg and Don McRae’s pen of Angus steers winning the carcase section with a score of 356.14.
In the no HGP section G Morgan & Co’s winning pen of shorthorn steers did not feature in the weight gain winners, however had an ADG ranging from 2.11kg to 2.56kg. The pen won the carcase section with a score of 558 and came second in the eating quality section with a score of 346.45. Palgrove had the highest ADG in the no HGP section gaining 2.445kg per day and Don McRae won the eating quality section with a score 365.65.