What’s the Beef?!

What’s the Beef?

Just recently Angus Pure and PGG got together to run a series of roadshows around the country called ‘What’s the Beef’. Aptly named given the lack of awareness of the increasing value of premium beef with the arrival and access to premium programs, especially Alliance’s Handpicked programme.

“Presentations demonstrated the importance of beef’s eating qualities, what processors look for in a carcase, how nutrition management can benefit a farmer’s programme and the important role that high performance genetics play in the equation.”

AngusPure director Guy Sargent said he was enthusiastic about the roadshows as he felt there was a real need for furthering education, especially in the area of genomics.

“These roadshows were designed to provide farmers with the tools they need in order to produce high quality Angus beef and more of it” he said.

“Genetics is an essential link in generating quality beef and combined with the right feed and management practices, farmers can start shifting their beef from the commodity self to the premium grade programmes.”

Attendance to the roadshows was strong with many being surprised at what the premiums were for quality beef through Angus Pure’s relationship with Alliance’s Handpicked programme, of up to $1 if the right boxes are ticked for colour, ph and marbling.

This progress for premium beef is significant. Not only does it benefit the finishers, obviously, but assuming Angus Pure ear tags are used and store lines are well marketed by stock agents, it will also create a premium for store cattle bred with premium carcass genetics. This will actually change the buying behaviour of stock agents who have buying orders for finishers hunting premiums out the other end. No longer will any black beast do, what will be important is what genetics have been used and do they have a genetic disposition to finish early with a heavy carcass and marble.

Guy Sargent also talked about how achievable the premiums were but only through using the right genetics. One client who has been using performance genetics for a reasonable amount of time sent in a trial unit of cattle to be killed through the Handpicked programme. 100% of the animals qualified leading to a premium over schedule for the unit load of cattle of over $10 000! These cattle had the right genetics and were farmed and presented well.

Dylan Miller of Alliance Group Dannevirke said to me recently when Alliance started its yield grading programme for lamb what they saw over a relatively short period of time was the genetics used by farmers changed and now some farmers are getting up to $13 a head above schedule regularly for their lambs. Carcass yield through Alliance for lamb increased about 5% as there was a shift in how lambs were bred and presented. I expect that over time the same shift is going to happen with beef, if the right incentives are there and now they are.

For Totaranui this is gratifying as John started down this route 30 years ago and it has been a hard row to hoe. Breeding carcass traits into our cattle has been challenging but rewarding. Look at the Totaranui EMAs and you will see that almost all the cattle are well above average, let alone IMF and carcass weights. Selecting for carcass trait while keeping in mind other important traits has been the challenge, refer to the article, Antagonistic Traits. Tally and myself have carried this challenge on from John and Mary Anne, it’s great to now see the real incentives are there for commercial breeders to chase these genetics also.

For more information on killing through Angus Pure and the Hand Picked programme and Angus Pure Ear tags  (required to qualify), contact Guy Sargent at Angus Pure.