Crossbred tactic brings carcase success

Merriwa's Carrigan family take out Merriwa Feedlot Trial with crossbreeding combination

Beef
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A winning crossbreeding formula is paying off for the Carrigan family.

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Paddy Carrigan's cattle were named overall winners of the Merriwa Feedlot Trial during a presentation night recently. Photo: Kylie Raines

Paddy Carrigan's cattle were named overall winners of the Merriwa Feedlot Trial during a presentation night recently. Photo: Kylie Raines

A winning formula of hybrid viguor saw Merriwa's Carrigan family dominate the local feedlot trial awards recently.

Paddy Carrigan, and his wife Anne, were named overall winners of the Merriwa Feedlot Trial during a presentation night recently along with claiming the highest dressing percentage and highest profitability awards with their Limousin cross Shorthorn cattle.

Their cattle's consistency was evident when the couple's daughter, Annaliese, claimed fourth overall with a pen of similar genetics.

The Carrigans run about 300 Shorthorn Hereford cross breeders, rotating their sire genetics between Shorthorn bulls, Herefords from Dalkeith stud, and in the last 10 years, Limousin terminal sires from Meriden Limousins. They supply to the supermarket trade, with cattle hitting the specifications from 12 to 15 months.

This year the Carrigan's entries were picked from a mob of about 80 head and weighed to ensure they met the entry weight requirements.

"Anyone who enters these competitions knows it is easy to get two, hard to get three," Mr Carrigan said.

"Picking that third beast that looks the same or you think will do the same is difficult. You look through some of the results and there is always one that doesn't do as well or one that does twice as well as the others. It is hard to get consistent."

Their overall champion pen also had the highest dressing percentage at an average of 59.8 per cent, with one beast alone achieving 63.1 per cent. It led to the team securing the highest profitability at an average of $346 each. Mr Carrigan said he found better value from crossbreeding.

"I've got a larger genetic pool to play with," he said.

"Because of the genetics I feel that I get quicker finishing cattle, and hopefully pretty good yielding cattle."

The Carrigans began entering the competition some years ago for the feedback benefits.

"When I first looked at it I wanted to see if I was to sell cattle into a feedlot, how well they would do," Mr Carrigan said.

"Once all that other feedback came through too, that is pretty invaluable. It guides me in my bull selection and whether or not I am 'keeping up with the Joneses' as far as breeding goes.

"It just reaffirms what I'm trying to get out of it, that the cattle I've got are of reasonable quality and it assures that I am still heading in the right direction."

Mr Carrigan opts to run his bulls year round. While it means more work marking and weaning, he believed it also equated to less need for a lot of feed at any particular time of the year.

"It also tends to make it easier to average out your market," he said.

"We have always done that and it seems to work for us. The aim with that is to try and get more calves per year."

On the hoof, they secured the champion pen and champion beast and were named most successful across both the hoof and hook sections.

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