Eaglehawk wins EKKA  Paddock to Palate MSA Eating Quality Competition 2021!!

COVID prevented the EKKA awards going ahead but we were had our own little Award Ceremony when these arrived in the mail.

A big one to win!

We are absolutely stoked to win the  MSA Eating Quality section of the EKKA Paddock to Palate Competition for 100 day fed cattle.  The field was strong and big, and lets face it in terms of profitability once on farm functionality is achieved the next most important thing is eating quality.  It is what will keep our consumers coming back.
Quite a range of breeds and crosses were represented and some pretty high profile names were among the group.  As you may or may not be aware…we don’t chase marbling when selecting our sires.  Yet with this competition our pens marbled well above the field.  Above herds that have high IMF EBV’s.

Reality in Feedback

It is our belief, backed up by our experiences with our own beef product around 10 years ago, that our Eaglehawk cattle marble whilst still having softness, thickness and depth of body. Selling beef was a great learning experience and has influenced our cattle breeding enormously.

This belief is also backed up by the performance and carcase feedback we have been getting from the feedlots that we have been supplying with feeder steers. The MSA grades and marble scores are in the top end of all their throughput.  The steers have also been in the top end with regards feedlot gain.

Angus cattle Angus bulls QLD

Rob & Donna Atkinson scooped the pool  with their Eaglehawk/Droughmaster cross pens in 2017. The first placed pen averaged 3.1kgs per day for 100 days.  The highest weight gain steer in the 70-day class was a whopping 3.9kgs per day.

Just a bit of background….

We had one of the highest marbling EBV Angus cows in Australia about 15 years ago and when we sent her off to her new owners we took a good long hard look at ourselves.  She really wasn’t what we wanted to breed. This cow had been relegated to the recipient herd as she was hard doing, angular, too big and rather frail in appearance.

So it asks the question “Is Ultrasound scanning an Exact Science?”
We have a belief that Ultrasound scan figures at 600 days of age don’t truly represent the potential of the animals marbling.  Marbling is only realized when the animal has been on feed for 70 days or more.  And the best way to check it out is unfortunately in the chiller.  There is certainly differences shown in each animal with ultra sound scanning but when you look at our IMF figures they don’t translate to the real thing.  That’s why these competitions are so interesting and informative.  Nothing like comparing breeds and breeders!  The Wagyu breed doesn’t scan for IMF like the Angus breed as they are of the mindset that their animals don’t show high marbling until feeding has occurred.  They can feed up to 500 days for the ultimate score.

Fat Cover won’t win Carcase Competitions but it pays with the Eating Quality.

Fat cover is important to us for fertility and efficiency on farm so we won’t be reducing our rib and rump fat to win carcase competitions.

There is always a trade off.

Cows that can carry fat and do more with less and wean a calf, even in the most trying times and rebreed are crucial to everyone’s bottom line.
In the carcase section of the competition we were knocked around a bit because of the extra softness ours carry compared to the larger Angus, Euros and crossbreds.  Extra fat cover earns point deductions in a carcase competition but we rate it right up there for cow efficiency and on farm functionality.
Maybe one day the carcase judging will be more in line with the MSA standards and there will be a little more crossing over.  Who knows?  
Fat cover may become sexy!

An article published in The Land

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