THE consistent performance of cattle from Jon Wright and the team at Coota Park Blue-E, Woodstock, was well and truly cemented during the 2020 NSW Beef Spectacular Feedback Trial when they secured their eighth top 10 appearance in 11 years.
The overall reserve champion pen of steer winners from Coota Park scored 820 points out of 1000.
This team also took equal top honours for feedlot performance with full points, recording a team average daily weight gain of 2.84 kilograms a day, to result in a final weight range of 660kg to 712kg.
They ranked 22nd for the carcase section on 370 points out of 550, received a gold medal for eating quality and had the seventh highest team average MSA Index of 56.71. The team profitabilty was $1074.06, which sat them at second for team profit, while the Teys Australia new value based marketing profitability score put them at $1063.38.
Coota Park principal Jon Wright said two teams were entered under Coota Park, while the genetics were also represented in a third team from his employee Nick Hovey and his wife Jessie-Lea.
The other Coota Park team placed 16th overall and was 8th in feedlot performance.
Mr Wright said the steers had been selected from a group of 150 steers and had entered the competition lighter than previous years (team average 371.8kg).
A lot of good carcase cattle would have been in the competition but would have lost points on size and carcase weight, according to Mr Wright.
They had previously won the competition in 2011.
Mr Wright said the continued consistency of high performing producers should be rewarded by processors.
"It is very interesting that six or seven out of the top 10 have been previous winners," he said.
"Obviously there genetics are different, their management would be a different, so why isn't there more of a focus from industry towards individual genetics rather than breeds? Rewards for producing good products.
"Currently we are getting paid on coat colour and growth ... it is good to see Teys working towards their value based marketing but we need to make sure we are breeding the most profitable animals for all of us. The type that might be most profitable for them might not be the most profitable for us."
Despite the drought, Mr Wright said they opted to keep everything and hold their numbers, currently running 450 cows and retaining their 280 heifers of Blue-E genetics (a line of Angus/Shorthorn cross developed by the Wrights).
"Everything is on maintenance ... calves were weaned from three months ... heifers were fed this year leading up to joining," he said.
"They were 230kg one month before joining so we put them on pellets in the lead up and through the three-cycle joining then they are back to maintenance."
Mr Wright said they were not bound by a type or look of cattle, but rather focused on fertility, feed efficiency and cattle that are profitable and productive to them.
"Fertility is a big determinant of profitability," he said. "We keep and join every heifer and the first cull for us is at joining. The second is at calving, and the third is when they are independently assessed by Dick Whale for structural soundness.
"Unless I do it that way, I'm not doing a proper fertility test. There could be heifers that go out (culled before joining) that could be more fertile than the ones selected to be retained."
Cows will eat as much as they can or want if it is in front of them, but they can get back in calf and maintain pregnancy being fed 1.5pc of their body weight, he said.
"We just need to readjust the expectations of what our cows should look like for our profitability," he said.
"Those big fat cows are good to look at, but they aren't profitable.
"You can get cows in calf from condition score two, as long as they are on a rising plain of nutrition one month prior and during joining."
With fertility, growth, feed conversion, marbling and muscle the top five factors considered within their breeding program, Mr Wright said they use the trial for marketing and to see how their cattle perform in a commercial situation.
"Everyone should be putting cattle into commercial scenarios to see if they are working," he said.
"We try to find out whether they are doing the things we find important, and then take it further to see how they compare to others and identify the cattle we think will perform.
"The best part of the trial is the lessons you learn from just looking through the booklet and analysing the results to see what the top tips are scoring well at."