Keeping one foot on each side of the fence

Simmental cattle introduced to Hereford herd to improve marbling

Beef
Ben and Gerard McIntosh, Yackandandah, Victoria are introducing more black baldy cattle to their predominantly Hereford herd to improve marbling. Photo: Sarah McIntosh

Ben and Gerard McIntosh, Yackandandah, Victoria are introducing more black baldy cattle to their predominantly Hereford herd to improve marbling. Photo: Sarah McIntosh

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Adding a Simmental cross to a Hereford herd.

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In their first year in the NSW Beef Spectacular Feedback Trial, the McIntosh family, Yackandandah, Victoria were placed 11th for their team of steers which included Hereford cross Simmental cattle.

Their team received a total of 782 points out of 1000 for their overall score, standing out in the feedlot performance section where they gained 320 of the 350 points available and were ranked ninth from 95 teams.

Their steers entered the feedback trial averaging 425 kilograms and put on an average of 2.59kg a day for a final average weight of 697kg.

Gerard McIntosh said they entered a mixture of Herefords, Black Baldy and Hereford cross Simmental steers in their pen of five, the combination representative of the 1200 breeders they run on their Kiewa Valley property.

"We predominantly run Herefords but are bringing more Black Baldy cattle into the herd," Mr McIntosh said.

Mr McIntosh said they were experimenting with a Hereford Simmental cross, joining 30 Hereford cows with Simmental bulls to see if the Simmental genetics would improve their cattle's marbling.

"Herefords are not renowned for their marbling and we want to improve in that area," Mr McIntosh said.

"It's been good to experiment without changing our whole system, you wouldn't want to find out you've got on the wrong train."

Mr McIntosh said introducing more Black Baldy cattle to their herd had been done for the same reason.

"We're trying to maximise our dollar without switching to an entirely black herd, it's putting one foot on either side of the fence," he said.

"We're not going to get the highest marbling cattle no matter what we do but we'll be able to get better marbling cattle.

"Rather than be in the breed average we can try to push it to the upper end.

"If we hit the 2 to 4 marble market as opposed to 0-2, people buying our cattle have more markets to offload to."

Mr McIntosh said they also joined as many accreditation programs as they could to ensure the premiums on offer, their cattle both EU accredited and grass assured.

The McIntoshs send nearly 100 per cent of their steers to JBS, feeders heading to the Yanco plant at close to 18 months.

"We try to get them to 450 to 500 kilograms," Mr McIntosh said.

He said if they didn't retain their heifers, they either sold them as store cattle or fed them through to a kill weight, depending on the season.

Mr McIntosh said they mostly bought Angus bulls from Table Top Angus, Fernhill and Witherswood, while the Hereford bulls were sourced from YavenVale, Gunyah, Wirruna and Ravensdale.

He said there wasn't an overall or clear stand-out between the Herefords, Black Baldy and Hereford Simmental cross in the trial results.

"The results did reinforce that we should continue to go down the Black Baldy path," Mr McIntosh said.

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