Feedlot performance at centre of Challenge success

Bob GarnantCountryman
Harvey Beef Gate 2 Plate Challenge cattle at the Albany feedlot nearing the days-on-feed in which will determine team performance towards the final processing stage
Camera IconHarvey Beef Gate 2 Plate Challenge cattle at the Albany feedlot nearing the days-on-feed in which will determine team performance towards the final processing stage Credit: Narelle Lyon

Increased feedlot performance resulting in improved daily weight gain is leading the way at this year’s Harvey Gate 2 Plate Challenge, with cattle enjoying good Albany weather.

The Challenge, with more than $14,000 in prizes, will host a record 64 teams of WA-bred cattle through the Willyung Farms Feedlot, at Albany, before being processed at Harvey Beef.

The team of two steers and one heifer entered by Kevin Nettleton, of Unison Limousins at Boyanup, is leading the way in weight gain.

The Unison team of pure Black Limousins gained 131kg in combined weight.

“We have a superior breed which has consistently performed better than any other breed since the inception of the Challenge,” Mr Nettleton said. “The benefits of using a Limousin bull as a terminal sire over commercial cows are very much underestimated within the industry.”

Mr Nettleton said he selected the best fit Limousin calves with his entry of two teams this year.

“We entered a black and apricot skinned team this year to demonstrate a comparison,” he said.

WA’s prestigious feedlot competition, now in its seventh year, aims to represent commercial reality with cattle assessed on their objective traits and measured in terms of their profitability and efficiency throughout the supply chain.

Event co-ordinator Sheena Smith said entry numbers remained strong, on par with last year, with participation widespread.

“At the conclusion of the Challenge we award and supply participants with measured data results on their cattle in terms of feeding performance, processing performance and Meat and Livestock Australia grading,” she said.

Willyung Farms Feedlot owner and the Challenge feedlot co-ordinator Sandy Lyon said “steers took to feed” achieving a target feed intake and averaging a weight-gain of 1.6kg/day, while the heifers averaged gain of 1.6kg/day at the mid-way weighing on March 13.

Gaining a combined 128kg for a team of two pure Angus steers and an Angus cross Sussex heifer, the Smith family, of Narrikup, were pleased with their cattle’s performance in the feedlot sector.

Stewart Smith said a change of genetics and a concentration on good temperament was the formula working for his family’s cattle.

“We use the Challenge to benchmark our cattle herd,” he said.

Also in the top weight gain category, Yornup beef producer Michael Campbell’s team of Angus cross Murray Grey cross Simmental had a combined weight of 123kgs.

“We don’t get a lot of information back on our produce so the information I get back from the challenge is interesting,” he said.

“We have been trying to select over the last few years for a larger eye muscle and more intra-muscular fat and the MSA feedback provides information relative to this.”

Mr Campbell said he selected his cattle team on hybrid vigour and those calves that had little more weight at weaning.

“All our calves are recorded at birth and the calves selected this year were 2 to 3 weeks older than calves selected previous years,” he said.

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