IN their debut entry of the 2015 RAS Beef Challenge, Ben and Wendy Mayne, Texas Angus, Warialda, dominated the export section of the competition. This year they proved an important point and dominated the domestic results.
Mr Mayne sees the competition as a way to benchmark their operation and determine how they measure up against not only fellow Angus breeders but all the other breeds and cross breeding systems within the beef industry as a whole.
The domestic team results read first and third in the feedlot total, equal first in the carcase grid, first and second in profitability and third in the live assessment. Overall they won champion and reserve domestic teams. In the Individual domestic results, in daily weight gain they placed first, second and third and in the feedlot total they took out both second and third placings. In the teams export results they placed first in the feedlot trial, in the individual export they came in first and third for daily weight gain, as well as winning the overall champion export individual.
What’s impressive about their outcome is, these steers and heifers are not the top-line of their genetics that are entered into the competition. Originally the Texas Angus commercial and stud herds were run separately, but the crippling drought forced the Mayne’s to run both together.
“With the recent drought, the commercial herd was the first to go. Basically we just built on to the stud numbers,” Mr Mayne said. “We cut about one-third of our bulls, so it’s the bottom third of the progeny that become these steers and vice versa with the heifers.”
This year there was only 70 steers they had to choose from for both export and domestic classes. Both the domestic steers and heifers were 12-months-old and went into the Wilga feedlot weighing about 320 kilograms. The top pen’s average daily weight gain was just over 2.5 kilos a day with the top performing animal recording 2.97 kilos a day. The top pen were heifers, as was the top individual.
“This was a phenomenal result for these heifers, they didn’t have a growth promotant and were also competing against steers,” Mr Mayne said.
“Wendy and I believe one of the biggest attributes to where we are is the way we run our cattle. People don't realise how hard we push our cows,” Mr Mayne said.
“Only the highest performing and most fertile cows stay and over many years of not changing our strategy of how we breed our cattle, the performance is certainly entrenched right throughout our herd.”
Ben Mayne said every beast on the their Warialda property originated from 22 heifers 80 years ago. “We have always prided ourselves on being a more heavier built longer bodied type Angus than the traditional type,” Mr Mayne said. Over the last 20 years the Mayne’s have undertaken AI breeding programs to accelerate the genetic gain, diversity, performance and carcase quality of their herd without chasing extremes.
“That is where we have probably shone through, we haven’t gone too extreme in carcase values and kept our weight and performance,” Mr Mayne said.
For the last two years of the RAS challenge, the Mayne’s have scored the highest marbling animal. “Some people say high performance cattle can't marble, but to have the highest marbling steer (scoring 7) and pen last year and to repeat having the highest marbling steer score of 6 this year on 100 days feed – that’s a is a pretty big feat. A lot of other steers and heifers need 280 days on feed to achieve similar marble scores,” Mr Mayne said.
“The biggest point of difference now is we have actually got the data in front of us to say this is what Angus cattle can do and we have the data to prove it.”