Feedlot trial a valuable tool for weaner producers

Feedlot trial a valuable tool for weaner producers

Beef
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Barfold Beef can prove weaners will meet feedlot specs.

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Matthew Shea, Barfold Beef, Barfold, Vic with sons Jasper, 8 and Charlie, 5. The Sheas are weaner producers and enter the trial to give buyers confidence their cattle will hit specifications needed in a feedlot. Photo: Supplied

Matthew Shea, Barfold Beef, Barfold, Vic with sons Jasper, 8 and Charlie, 5. The Sheas are weaner producers and enter the trial to give buyers confidence their cattle will hit specifications needed in a feedlot. Photo: Supplied

For the third year in a row, the Shea family of Barfold Beef, Barfold, Victoria had a top 10 team in the NSW Beef Spectacular Feedback Trial.

Their Angus steers placed seventh this year with an overall score of 800 out of 1000 points.

For the second time, the Shea family also took home reserve champion in the Teys Certified Premium Black Angus champion pen of five, showing consistency in the herd.

Matthew Shea, who runs the business with his mother Margaret, said they had entered the trial for the last five years but said it was only in the last three that they had been able to hit the mark, placing equal fifth last year and ninth the year before.

"The first year we cooked the steers a little too much, the second year they were too light and we lost a couple of steers but by the third year we started to understand where the mark was," Mr Shea said.

Mr Shea said this year his cattle where lighter than he would have liked going into the trial.

"I certainly had no great expectation on what would happen, it was nice to be able to see that they performed again given the seasonal conditions," Mr Shea said.

Mr Shea explained that they were actually weaner producers, but said the feedlot trial was a valuable way to asses their cattle and offer their buyers quantifiable data on their performance in a feedlot.

"For us it's been about getting as many cattle away and off the cows, as quickly as possible," Mr Shea said.

"It's good to know that they perform in a feedlotting environment, that goes a long way.

"When we're selling weaners to backgrounders they can have the confidence going forward that they will hit the right specifications for a feedlot."

Mr Shea said they ran between 400 to 500 breeding cows, turning off close to 450 to 500 calves a year.

They buy in their Angus bulls from Te Mania and Jarobee.

Mr Shea said they usually aimed to grow their calves to 300 to 310 kilograms, selling in April or May. However, given the season, this year they were preparing to offer their July/August-drop weaners on AuctionsPlus later this month.

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