Figures are only a guide

Figures are only a guide

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Top herd: Kim McConville and Tex Pierce, Mudgegonga, Victoria supplementary feeding their Black Simmental Angus cross heifers. Photo: supplied.

Top herd: Kim McConville and Tex Pierce, Mudgegonga, Victoria supplementary feeding their Black Simmental Angus cross heifers. Photo: supplied.

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Entry in Feedback Trail confirms the performance of Tex Pierce's cattle based on visual assessment rather than adhering to figures.

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Tex Pierce, Mudgegonga, has always been interested in feedback trials for the purpose of evaluating the performance of his cattle.

Mr Pierce, and his partner Kim McConville join up to 600 cows on an aggregation based on the 186 hectare property near Mudgegonga plus leased country, and stock held on agistment at certain periods through the year.

“We used to enter the competitions held at the Ashleigh Park feedlot near Culcairn, and we have won four straight,” he said.

“We weren't getting any data on the performance of our cattle, when we sell our cattle through the yards.”

When Mr Pierce saw the advertisement in The Land, he thought he would enter a team to compare his cattle against other teams.

The partnership entered two teams of five steers, and they were pleasantly surprised by their success.

Matrons: Black Simmental Angus cross cows with calves bred by Tex Pierce and Kim McConville, Mudgegonga, Victoria. Photo: supplied.

Matrons: Black Simmental Angus cross cows with calves bred by Tex Pierce and Kim McConville, Mudgegonga, Victoria. Photo: supplied.

“We didn’t expect to do as well as we have,” Mr Pierce admitted.

“We would have been happy to be in the top 20 percent, but to achieve these results is fantastic.”

The mainly Black Simmental cross steers with a touch of Shorthorn were bred by bulls of Mr Pierce’s breeding, and they came second in the Carcase section, with the Reserve Championship in the Riverine Classic Beef Champion Pen.

The team also came eighth in the Champion Pen of Five steers.

“We have confidence in the Simmental breed but we can’t be complacent until we see the true figures from the carcase competitions,” Mr Pierce said.

The partnership is developing a small stud, but before they start selling bulls they want to be certain the stock will perform to expectations, and those virtues can be confirmed by taking part in this trial.

Mr Pierce said he selects his replacement heifers and bulls visually, without too much reference to available figures.

“I think people get carried away with figures, but they don’t always add up,” he said.

“People should look at the conformation, the structure of the beast and especially temperament.”

Mr Pierce said traits like length, depth, ability to walk and milk can only be assessed visually, and he also likes soft skinned fleshy cattle.

“The industry has gone mad on lean hard skinned bulls based on too much reliance on figures,” he said.

“Figures should only be used as a guide.”

He also stressed the value of the Feedback Trial in allowing producers to realistically compare their production aims against others in the industry, and encouraged other cattle breeders to enter.

“If people are not sure about the direction their operation is taking, enter, it is a way of helping you,” Mr Pierce said.

“There is no point in looking over the fence, and thinking your cattle are the best.

“This program helps everyone along the path to increased productivity.”

Mr Pierce especially wanted to thank all sponsors for the opportunity to enter cattle and get great feedback.

“I am also getting a lot of support from district neighbours who are keen to know the results of the trial,” he said.

“And I know one who will be entering the trial next year.”

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