FIRST time entrants Hufton Pastoral Company of Harden dominated for eating quality attributes, with their single entry receiving the highest team average MSA Index of the NSW Beef Spectacular Feedback Trial.
Mal and Louise Hufton have been operating Hufton Pastoral Co since 1986, with their sons Tim and Charles becoming involved in the partnership three years ago. They run a self-replacing Angus herd, and annually send steers to feedlots including Jindalee and Rangers Valley.
Not only did the Huftons receive the highest MSA index of the trial at 58.04, they were in the top 10 per cent of the competition that received gold medals for eating quality. In the carcase section of the trial they excelled, placing third on 405.5 out of 550 points. As a team their steers had an average hot standard carcase weight (HSCW) of 364.5 kilograms and measured an average dressing percentage of 56.18 per cent and average lean meat yield of 54.98pc.
All their steers qualified for the Riverine Premium Beef brand and had an Aus-Meat marble score over two, with three recording marble scores of three.
Joining the trial this year, the Huftons entered one team of Angus steers to get more information about the performance of their animals. They were previously running 700 breeders, but Mal Hufton said they were currently back to about 300 breeders and about 50 heifers that would calve down this year.
"The steers were by Gilmandyke bulls and out of heifers," Mr Hufton said.
"We have a cross section of genetics and we have been AI'ing a few stud cows from Bongongo and Rosevale (sold out eight years ago). We have genetics through AI (artificial insemination) from Rennylea and Millah Murrah D78, with nine cows joined in spring.
"We breed some of our own bulls to use, but still buy in a couple of bulls every two years to introduce different genetics, choosing what suits us based on EBVs (estimated breeding values)."
Mr Hufton said they didn't select for marbling as much as they did for growth and calving ease, but attributed their success to the genetics of their bulls.
"This is the first lot of detailed feedback for us," he said. "We had another 250 head in the Jindalee feedlot at the same time, and this week we have just got the feedback from them which I will go through.
"Our position in the carcase is where we want to be. One steer let us down on feed conversion so we will keep focusing more on growth as they need to be profitable for the feedlots as well."
In line with their eating quality success, the Huftons have also had good marbling and MSA Indexes on heifers they have previously sent to Wingham Beef Exports.