Planning pays off in Lardner steer trial win

Two first time entrants top the awards at Lardner Park steer trial


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Producers seeking to benchmark their herds against others under the same conditions have come out in the top two positions at the 2018 Lardner Park Steer Trial.

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WINNERS: Tony and Marg Killalea and daughter Sophie, Killandayle, entry of Angus/Angus Shorthorn cross steers were judged first in the combined weight gain and carcase awards.

WINNERS: Tony and Marg Killalea and daughter Sophie, Killandayle, entry of Angus/Angus Shorthorn cross steers were judged first in the combined weight gain and carcase awards.

Two first time entrants in the Lardner Park steer trial were the major award winners.

The winner of the pair of steers combined weight gain and carcase awards was Oliver, Tony and Marg Killalea, Killandayle, Holbrook, NSW.

Placed second overall was another first time entry, from Dockers Plains Pastoral Company's Wangaratta property. The same pair of steers also took out first place in the category for highest wight gain by a pair.

The 2018 competition for "standard domestic trade", is the only grass-based steer trial in Australia and attracted 31 pairs of steers, 62 in total, from 27 entrants.

The Killandayle steers scored 222.3 points to edge out the Dockers Plains steers on 221.6.

Third placed overall was a pair of Hereford steers from Paul Sykes, Karoonda Park, Gelantipy.

RUNNERS-UP: Simon Balfour, Thorpdale farm manager, Clarissa Toohey, Glenfalloch Station, Licola, farm manager, with Dockers Plains Pastoral general manager Dane and Ingrid Martin.

RUNNERS-UP: Simon Balfour, Thorpdale farm manager, Clarissa Toohey, Glenfalloch Station, Licola, farm manager, with Dockers Plains Pastoral general manager Dane and Ingrid Martin.

In the carcase section seven steers (or 11%) were outside specifications for carcase weight (and were awarded penalty points) – five were over the 285 kg upper weight limit and two under the 210 kg lower limit.

The average's included carcase weight was 256.5kg (highest in past six years), dressing percentage 51.7pc, P8 fat 6.4mm, rib fat 4.7mm, eye muscle area 69.1 square centimetres and pH of 5.5.

Average weight gains were significantly higher than previous years with an average of 1.40kg/day.

The steers averaged 322kg at initial weight and 496kg at turnoff.

The highest weight gain pair was from Dockers Plains gaining 1.56kg/day while the highest carcase score as a pair was a composite pair scoring 89.16 from Brad Gale, Ross Farm, Waratah Bay.

The highest eating quality score was achieved by a pair of Hereford/Angus cross steers from Andy Watson, Forestvale Billabong Beef Company, Holbrook, NSW.

For the winners Marg Killalea said they had entered the competition because it was grass fed and aimed at cattle for the domestic trade - which was the aim of their own business.

"It was a great opportunity to benchmark our cattle to see how they performed against others in the same environment," she said.

The business now comprises a herd of 200 spring calving breeding females cows as well as some 450 to 600 steers traded each year for the grass fed market.

The steers that were entered were from their own breeding and were three quarter Angus and one quarter Shorthorn.

Mrs Killalea said their experience with MSA had helped in selecting the best steers for the competition to fit into the entry weight range of 210 to 285kg hot score carcase weight.

Dockers Plains Pastoral Co general manager Dane Martin, said they had entered six pairs from different properties and different breeding.

Owned by the Paul family, the business comprises three properties - at Wangaratta, Thorpdale and Licola.

The pair of Angus that placed second overall was from the Dockers Plains property at Wangaratta and was based on Landfall blood.

"We wanted to see where our breeding and genetics programs sit," Mr Martin said.

"The competition is a great chance for our staff to get an appreciation of where our cattle are."

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