On The Land

26 November, 2022

FNQ's best beef decided

In a surprise result, Saturday night’s ‘Rocky Creek Abattoir’s Best Beef Awards,’ was won by a stand-out pen of “British White/Brahman” cross steers, identifying their owners, Peter and Jacki Reeves and their preferred retailer, Glenn Plath of Yungaburra Butchery, as the suppliers of the best quality beef in Far North Queensland.

By Sally Turley

Bec Clapperton, DAF Townsville, Victor and Cailan Byrnes, Rocky Creek Abattoir and MSA grader, Laura Garland of Armidale were hard at work in the cold room last Friday
Bec Clapperton, DAF Townsville, Victor and Cailan Byrnes, Rocky Creek Abattoir and MSA grader, Laura Garland of Armidale were hard at work in the cold room last Friday

The pen of three relatively rare steers won both the heavier Class 3 category of the competition and the Champion Pen Overall, to achieve an average Pen score of 80.72 points, a Lean Meat Yield of 56.42 per cent, an MSA Index of 59.29 and an average weight of 330.7kg.

Mr and Mrs Reeves were “still on a bit of a high” with their win and the performance of their cattle, but said they only entered the competition to show that the Tableland’s smaller operators, could produce good cattle.

The contest invited all butcher shops from Ingham to Cairns and across the Tablelands, who were customers of the abattoir, to put their best producers’ cattle forward in this battle to see which business was supplying the finest quality meat to their customers.

Putting their meat where their money is, Atherton producers and owners of Cross Custom Meats, Doug and Katelyn Cross ran a close second in the heavy class, with their pen of Black Brangus steers, averaging an overall score of 79.22 points, a Lean Meat Yield of 55.98 per cent, an MSA Index of 58.23 and averaged 343.5kg.

The hotly contested event had a to-tal of 69 carcasses entered by 20 local producers for sale through six different butcher shops. Cattle breeds submitted across the three weight ranges includ-ed Red and Black Brangus, Senepol/Droughtmaster cross, Charbray, Brah-man, British White/Brahman cross, Belmont Red/Simmental cross and Ultrablack.

Competitors were asked to submit pens of cattle in three dressed weight categories - Class 1 - 240.1 - 280kg, Class 2 - 280.1 - 320kg and Class 3 - 320.1 - 360kg. Meat Standards Australia (MSA) grader, Laura Garland travelled from Armidale to assess the carcasses.

Greg and Di Binnie’s pen of three Charbray heifers were victorious in the Class 1 category, achieving a score of 80.57 points, an excellent Yield of 59.7 per cent and weighing 259.3kg, just ahead of a pen of soft, Brahman steers submitted by Tolga’s Ian Shaw, which scored 79.19 pen points.

Tumoulin farmers, Mitch and Jodie Jonsson won the Class 2 division with their pen of Ultrablack steers that averaged 78.5 points, 289.6kg, yielded 57.44 per cent and scored 56.05 on the MSA index, to edge out Bernie English's Brangus/Limousin cross heifers bred by Dave Andersen that scored 77.56 points.

Malanda producer and Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) Extension Officer, Bernie English, said the contest produced “the best line-up of cattle in the carcase competition ever, and having an MSA grader present meant their results were benchmarked against cattle across Australia.”

MSA's Laura Garland confirmed she had seen “some really good car-casses,” with one animal scoring in the top one per cent of the state, and another making it into the top 10 per cent, and almost three quarters of the carcasses grading into the top 50 per cent of Queensland’s beef herd.

The Class 1 entries averaged 263kg dressed weight and 59 per cent yield; the Class 2 cattle averaged 300kg and 56 per cent and the Class 3 group dressed 358kg and yielded 55 per cent, displaying the decline in yield that usually accompanies an increase in weight.

Mr English said the far northern beef industry had some “very good cattle, coming off some very good country” and that “organisers wel-comed new blood into next year’s competition.”

“If you are considering entering next year however, you need to start now. You need to be selecting those few superior 250-300kg weaners as they come off mum and keep good quality pasture in front of them to keep them going continuously forward,” he said.

“If you are serious about doing well in this competition, everything needs to be right about your cattle - a well managed weaning process, quiet temperament, good weight for age/average daily weight gain figures and minimum hump height.”

Mr English said the awards com-mittee were deeply indebted to Bec Clapperton of DAF, Townsville and Doug Cross of Atherton for the “huge amount they contributed.”

“Bec was chief judge, point scorer and results collator while Doug was everywhere, helping with the drafting and all the way through the process,” Mr English said.


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