Gippsland bullock fattener Barry Hollonds says genetic improvements to Australia's Angus breed helped him claim the most prestigious carcase competition in the country.
Mr Hollonds, Sale, won three carcase competitions at Beef Australia in Rockhampton, Queensland, this month, including Meat Standards Australia's award for the highest indexing carcase.
That category alone had more than 3.5 million carcases graded, with Mr Hollonds winning the competition with an Angus steer, 340 kilograms, which he bought at a store sale in Gippsland.
"I don't have a huge farm but I am extremely proud with the result," he said.
"My late grandfather had a Hereford stud over in Cowwarr and I was too young to meet him but they told me he had a very good eye for cattle and I think it may have come through the traits."
Mr Hollonds buys store cattle from Heyfield, Sale and Bairnsdale and attributed his wins to a shift in farm focus and grazing principles.
He farms on about 100 hectares and turns off about 200 steers per annum.
"It's all about the meat eating quality and we have worked very hard at ensuring the cattle are on good pasture all year round," he said.
The 66-year-old also ranked highly in class two - a competition of three steers or heifers weighing 260-340kg - coming first in Victoria and sixth in Australia with 270 grading points out of 300 with a 335kg Angus steer.
He also came first in the export chiller steer class three category with a 400kg steer which came fifth in Australia.
"This is what the whole meat industry is driven on," Mr Hollonds said.
"If you buy a bit of steak you'll see little granules of fat throughout the meat and that's what gives the meat its quality."
The meat was assessed through camera grading technology at Greenham's in Moe.
Mr Hollonds admitted buying cattle on their meat quality or carcase index was sometimes a "hidden ability", but said his success had a lot to do with the breed he was buying.
"The Angus breed has come a long way in Australia in the last 10 years with genetics and breed developments," he said.
"As a result, breeders are offering a bigger-type beast and they are able to produce more meat which leads to better quality traits."
The Gippsland farmer said high beef prices in the last 18 months meant it was more challenging to select cattle which he had experienced success with previously.
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