30 May

Carcase Worthy Steers

by Lea Coghlan Queensland Country Life.

It may pale in comparison to the size of some other beef breeds but there’s no arguing Red Angus packs a mighty punch when it comes to carcase traits after finishing a close second in the prestigious Stan Hill Memorial Perpetual Trophy at the 2023 Sydney Royal Easter Show.

The team of three Red Angus steers, exhibited by Redgums Red Angus, Yambuna, Victoria, and White Family Beef, The Lagoon, NSW, achieved 249.84 points, a meagre 0.09 behind first place.

In doing so, the Red Angus team held out more than 150 entries from 11 other beef breeds, proving the carcase quality of the breed.

David Hobbs, a director on the Red Angus Society of Australia, said the achievement emphasised the Red Angus breed’s carcase qualities.

“There’s been a real emphasis from our board and the technical committee to improve the breed’s status when it comes to carcase and meat eating qualities like marbling and fat cover,” Mr Hobbs said.

“We have put more emphasis on traits that are going to help other breeds.

“And I think it’s starting to shine through.

“We are starting to see a lot more marbling and more fat cover without greatly impacting muscling in the breed.

“I think we’ve always known that Red Angus can do it.

“It’s just a matter of proving it and getting the runs on the board and people acknowledging it.”

Cliff and Maree Downey, Redgums Red Angus, owned two of the three-steer team.

Mr Downey said the result was validation for the Red Angus breed, which was gaining popularity in the Australian beef industry.

“There’s a lot of people across the country that favour Red Angus,” Mr Downey said.

“This is now quantified by results in a prestigious carcase competition.

“This achievement is going to be a great validation for what we’ve been saying, that Red Angus is at the top or near the top for carcase qualities.”

The Downeys have been seedstock producers for eight years, with a focus on carcase quality.

In establishing the stud, the couple drew on their experience in non-agricultural industries – education and project management – and transferred their success using data to drive improvement, to the seedstock industry.

“We wanted a breed that had excellent carcase characteristics Red Angus has,” Mr Downey said.

“We did some research and found that the Red Angus performs extremely well in the US with many Red Angus certified feeder steer programs.

“It is huge over there and one of the selling points is its hardiness and ability to function well in harsh environments.”

The couple was influenced by the breed’s proven success in the US and Canada, where most of the Australian Red Angus genetics are drawn from.

“We take a lot of notice of the Expected Progeny Differences (EPDs) in the US,” Mr Downey said.

“In terms of the carcase side, we have focused on US genetics.”

As part of their journey to “prove” the carcase traits of the Red Angus to Australian commercial beef producers, the Downeys formed a partnership with a Texas stud, XACT Genetic Ranch.

They collected and imported Fantastic Starr F114 – the sire to one of the steers that formed the successful team at Sydney Royal.

“The steer had an average birth weight but just like the EPDs, he had explosive growth – and fantastic carcase qualities as shown with the result,” Mr Downey said.

“He weighed 433kg and was just turning 10 months old at Sydney Royal.”

Being part of the result at Sydney Royal Show with the Red Angus breed was particularly rewarding for White Family Beef, The Lagoon, NSW.

The WFB steer, 10.5 months old and weighing 380kg, was the among the first drop of calves by WD Quicksilver, the walking sire for the Red Angus stud owned by 12-year-old Max White.

The steer, which finished with 86.2 points, was part of Max’s eight-member show team in the Red Angus exhibition arena.

Max’s father, Lee White, who runs a successful Hereford stud, said the family was pleasantly surprised with the result.

“He didn’t place anywhere in his hoof class,” Mr White said.

“He was at the bottom of the specification because he was so young, so we were unsure how he was going to fare.

“It was fantastic and pretty exciting for our first steer.”

Mr White said the result proved the breed was heading in the right direction.

“It shows how competitive the Red Angus breed is,” Mr White said.

“That we can match or even breed in a more consistent direction than some other breeds.”

As a breed, Red Angus has a number of attributes including high-yielding and superior marbling quality that improve beef tenderness, flavour, texture and meat colour.

Mr Hobbs said Red Angus was one of the most sought-after breeds in America for carcase qualities.

While Australia’s industry had not yet reached that status, it was certainly on its way.

“The other great attribute of the breed is that it can tolerate the hotter climates better than probably some of the other breeds,” Mr Hobbs said.

“Commercial producers are looking at the breed as a terminal breed or using them in maternal breeding as well.”

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