THE Beef Spectacular Feedback Trial awards dinner was a special night for Forbes producers Lex and Sally Crosby of Cherry Tree Hill.
They were enjoying a six week break from the relentless hand feeding of their stock when they were announced just two points away from securing the grand champion competition title.
While they feared the season had impacted their cattle’s chances in the competition, their Angus/Charolais steers were named reserve champion pen behind Tait Pastoral Company’s Angus.
2018 had been a year of sacrifice for the Crosbys who operate a predominantly Angus herd across 1800 acres.
Having competed in the Feedback Trial for eight years, the Crosbys had always picked their entries from the lighter end of their herd to fit within the competition’s 320-460 kilogram weight range.
But their 2019 entries were the opposite.
“Normally we are taking the bottom end of the cattle because they are the only ones that make the weight (because the rest are too heavy) but this year we took the top end of the weight and only just scrapped in,” he said.
While their cattle were leaner, their performance on feed made up for it.
Their Angus/Charolais steers weighed between 364 kilograms and 396 kilograms upon feedlot entry and achieved an average daily weight gain of 2.79 kilograms, with one steer achieving 3.10 kilograms/day.
The team had an overall profit of $873.80.
Mr Crosby admitted he was disappointed in their cattle that year because of the season.
They were forced to wean their calves early, as light as 90 to 100 kilograms.
“We weaned all our calves at 10 and 12 weeks this year,” he said.
“At least the cows have picked up and hopefully we have got them back in calf.
“We did it probably five or six years ago but probably not quite as young, this is probably the youngest.”
While their competition steers were crossbred, Mr Crosby said their herd was now dominated by black genetics with the winning beasts only about 20 per cent Charolais infusion.
Mr Crosby isn’t a stranger to the feedlot industry.
Not only do they focus on supplying feedlots within their own operation, Mr Crosby was a former livestock general manager at Ladysmith Feedlot near Wagga and worked within a Forbes abattoir.
He established his own Angus stud about 20 years ago after noticing a lack of marbling in the cattle he worked with.
“I wanted more marbling in the herd because I could see what cattle were coming through the feedlot,” he said.
“There wasn’t the marbling there with the Angus breed.
“Mostly we get some four (marble scores) but this year there were no fours (in the competition).”
The 2019 results were one of the best the couple had received, having been awarded reserve champion carcase in 2017.
Read the full 10-page report in The Land this week.