Baringa Pastoral Company has proven it is unbeatable when it comes to eating quality.
Entering the NSW Beef Spectacular Feedback Trial for the second consecutive year, Mitch and Susie Crawford, owners of the Walcha beef cattle operation, made it back-to-back victories in the MSA eating quality medals.
Their accolades were announced during the presentation night on February 4 in Wagga Wagga
One pen of the Crawford's Angus steers had an average MSA Index of 66.02, landing them the top spot in the 2022 feedback trial. This backed up their win last year, while also showing they are even improving as the score rose from 65.56 MSA Index in 2021.
The same pen received champion carcase pen on 425.5 points, along with champion Riverina Premium Beef Champion pen.
The Crawfords run a purebred Angus herd of 700 commercial and stud cows where they mainly use their own Baringa bloodlines with a small Glenavon influence.
Spring calving means their steers are the optimum weight to be sold straight to feedlot operations for a medium- to long-fed, European Union (EU) accredited carcase.
The Crawford's top-performing steer scored 90 from a possible 110 points, while on average each steer scored 85.1pts.
The team had an average weight gain of 1.83 kilograms per head per day, with the highest performing steer in the team reaching 1.96kg/hd/day.
Mr Crawford said the 10 steers, entered across two teams, were spring calves approximately 12 months of age at induction last August.
"They came straight from the commercial herd and once selected, had no preparations for the trial," he said.
Bull selection drives the increased marbling seen in the Baringa-bred cattle, with their selection for intramuscular fat showing with three scoring a marble score three, and two a marble score two in the trial.
The remaining carcase traits are considered equally to ensure they are creating an ideal final product.
"We are looking at the same traits for both studs and commercials, and since the commercial aspect is the main part of the enterprise, the cows compliment each other," he said.
"We like a balanced animal good growth, moderate cow, good marble, and good structure."
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The Crawfords collect data from their stud animals, and use their own genetics across the commercial herd.
Bulls surplus to their own needs are sold privately to producers in the local district, while surplus heifers usually go into an MSA program.
Generally, Baringa targets the feeder market so the trial's specifications suit their cattle well.
With intentions to continue entering the feedback trial, Mr Crawford believes they will get better data the more times they enter, while also grasping a broader understanding of where they are going with their cattle by testing them year in, year out.
"It gives us a ballpark figure of where we are and gives us confidence that we are going in the right direction," he said. "We will probably keep entering the two pens but maybe in the future we will enter more."
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