They may be down to just 50 cows but that didn't stop the crossbred team of Simmental/Angus steers from previous winners James and Sal Morse of Wongalee, Molong, claiming sixth in the Beef Spectacular Feedback Trial.
Scoring 803 points from the possible 1000, the Morses were equal first for feedlot induction, ninth in feedlot performance on 320 points and 11th in the carcase section where they racked up 383 points. Their steers entered the trial averaging 402 kilograms, and recorded a team average daily gain of 2.56kg a day. Targeting the Sim-Angus cross for added lean meat yield and carcase value, Mr Morse said he chose Angus for their softness and Simmental for the added carcase characteristics.
"We are on Wombramurra bloodlines, and have been for about six years now," he said. "Progeny are sold direct to feedlot, and surplus heifers go to Coles at Scone."
In the carcase section, the Morse's steers recorded a high team average lean meat yield (LMY) of 57.16 per cent, with one steer measuring a 60.2pc LMY. They also had an average dressing percentage of 54.86 per cent and an average MSA Index of 55.37.
Two of their steers had an Aus-Meat marble score of two and qualified for the Riverine Premium Beef brand.
Normally running around 250 to 300 breeders, the fourth time entrants now only have 50 cows left due to the drought. "We are a spring calving herd and do natural joinings, we are tight on fertility. Heifers are (in a normal year) joined for 22 days and cows only for 45 days," Mr Morse said.
Previously winning the trial in 2015 and 2018, the Morses entered three teams this year with the others ranking 32nd and 60th.
"This year we found the steers entered the trial lighter and younger ... only 11 months as we calved later," he said.
"This meant that the weight gains weren't as good as our previous teams."
The Morses will use the feedback data to identify the sires that are working well within their enterprise to ensure they continue to move forward.