Fantastic beasts in SA

BEST BEEF: A selection of Angus and Simmental at Yerwal Estate, one of a number of studs Emma Pollitt visited in South Australia.
Piper Lucas preparing a Glentanner weaner for Round Up, with Emma Pollitt (right).
BEEF TO GO: These prime black cattle were auctioned off at the Mount Gambier weekly sale, Emma said "They sold like hot cakes". Pictures by Emma Pollitt

I arrived in Mount Gambier on January 8 and and on my first day kicked off with a trip to the Mayura Wagyu feedlot.

Mayura is intensive with full blood wagyu cattle that demand the highest premium.

The steers and heifers are fed in a two-stage regime. In the first they are range fed in paddock “cells” while being fed the feedlot ration.

In the second stage they move into the covered feed lot cells and are fed the ration effectively “adlib” — a fibre base feed with grain, hulls and chocolate. Yes, chocolate!

Mayura was an intriguing operation because they control the entire process of their systems from conception all the way through to consumption.

They grow their own crops for the feedlot ration, breed the Wagyu themselves, rear them, finish them, grade them and serve them, in their very own on site “tasting room”. They also export their product, along with supplying a variety of Australian restaurants. They have total management of their product, sell their meat with a story, with a quality guarantee and a promise of strict welfare regulations, and a consistent eating experience.

Mayura was a business to aspire to and learn from. They have given the consumer everything they want without compromise.

Woonallee Simmentals came next and it was an experience I was looking forward to. I was not disappointed.

Woonallee has a reputation for being one of the best and it was hard to disagree.

The stud consists of traditional black and red Simmentals, and also produces first cross Simmental/Angus bulls for their annual sale.

After a record season for pasture production, all the cattle were looking in prime condition.

The move to black Simmentals came with increasing demand in Australia for a more refined terminal type, so Woonallee launched hard into them and now have more black cows and sell more black bulls than anything else on the property.

Phenotypically, I found all the cattle to be incredibly true to type, sound and robust – a real credit to the Woonallee team. I did not see one cattle beast I would not have taken home.

A buzz was to see progeny from New Zealand’s very own Glen Anthony Y-Arta, a bull bred by Waipukurau Simmental breeder Tony Thompson.

Y-Arta’s progeny were easy to spot, with their traditional cosmetics, style and thickness.

Day two of my South Australian cattle experience saw a hike out to Bordertown, to Days Whiteface and Allendale Studs.

Both studs breed poll Herefords, white suffolks and other breeds of sheep.

We got to have a look at a selection of two-year-old bulls, some of which will be making their way to the national sales at Dubbo and Wodonga, with the remainder being sold at their on-farm sale.

What I saw was a strong line-up of consistent bulls with fantastic temperaments.

A quick look around a group of females proved the consistency of type has a flow-on effect throughout the herd.

A highlight was meeting Days Robin Hood H38 — a truly fantastic beast that is not only a trait leader and a sire to champions, but a beautifully moderate, thick and even bull. He has been a great success for the team at Days Whiteface, and I hope he continues to be. This sire is a real asset to the Hereford fraternity.

A quick drive down the road and we were at Allendale where we saw another selection of sale bulls.

Two stand-outs were a Robin Hood son, and a Remitall West Game Day son. The Game Day son had great length and mobility.

I will watch with interest to see how he breeds in the future.

Then it was on to Yerwal Estate, an Angus and Simmental stud that has had great influence from Woonallee genetics, which shows in the type of their traditional females.

We saw a few calves still on their dams by PHS Bank Roll and they stood out for their rapid growth and incredible muscle definition — they were something else!

Yerwal partake in an extensive ET and AI programme across both breeds, using Australian and international genetics.

Market days are Wednesdays at Mount Gambier, so we shot down for a look.

Numbers were down with only 4000 sheep and 2100 cattle yarded for the day.

Before Christmas numbers were up past 17,000 for sheep.

The systems they have in place allow for minimal, low stress handling of the stock, ease of use, and accuracy of information.

Cattle are yarded the night before the sale then sold the following day and are then processed through the EID weighing system.

The cattle, as a group, are walked through a set of EID readers, then on to a weighing platform.

The total weight is divided by the head of stock, then priced at the kilo amount at which they sold.

This information is almost instant, with a screen above the platform displaying the information as the cattle exit into their yards ready for transport.

This was a very efficient and safe set up, and impressive for its scale and simplicity.

The 2017 Round Up saw 120 Angus Youth members participate, with over 120 head of cattle in attendance.

The day of educational modules was interesting – learning about the intricate details of Australia’s beef industry only confirmed that some of New Zealand’s issues are not special to us.

Their huge live export industry and feed lotting make their matters more complex, but sustainability, welfare and food safety are also high on the scale of importance.

I realised how lucky we are in New Zealand to be pasture and forage cultivar based, to have a climate that allows for that base, and sustainable systems that co-align with environmental constraints.

I have returned to New Zealand with new insight into genetics, management and global standards in beef production.

My thanks to everyone who helped make that experience happen — noteably Allflex and the Future Beef executive committee.

I arrived in Mount Gambier on January 8 and and on my first day kicked off with a trip to the Mayura Wagyu feedlot.

Mayura is intensive with full blood wagyu cattle that demand the highest premium.

The steers and heifers are fed in a two-stage regime. In the first they are range fed in paddock “cells” while being fed the feedlot ration.

In the second stage they move into the covered feed lot cells and are fed the ration effectively “adlib” — a fibre base feed with grain, hulls and chocolate. Yes, chocolate!

Mayura was an intriguing operation because they control the entire process of their systems from conception all the way through to consumption.

They grow their own crops for the feedlot ration, breed the Wagyu themselves, rear them, finish them, grade them and serve them, in their very own on site “tasting room”. They also export their product, along with supplying a variety of Australian restaurants. They have total management of their product, sell their meat with a story, with a quality guarantee and a promise of strict welfare regulations, and a consistent eating experience.

Mayura was a business to aspire to and learn from. They have given the consumer everything they want without compromise.

Woonallee Simmentals came next and it was an experience I was looking forward to. I was not disappointed.

Woonallee has a reputation for being one of the best and it was hard to disagree.

The stud consists of traditional black and red Simmentals, and also produces first cross Simmental/Angus bulls for their annual sale.

After a record season for pasture production, all the cattle were looking in prime condition.

The move to black Simmentals came with increasing demand in Australia for a more refined terminal type, so Woonallee launched hard into them and now have more black cows and sell more black bulls than anything else on the property.

Phenotypically, I found all the cattle to be incredibly true to type, sound and robust – a real credit to the Woonallee team. I did not see one cattle beast I would not have taken home.

A buzz was to see progeny from New Zealand’s very own Glen Anthony Y-Arta, a bull bred by Waipukurau Simmental breeder Tony Thompson.

Y-Arta’s progeny were easy to spot, with their traditional cosmetics, style and thickness.

Day two of my South Australian cattle experience saw a hike out to Bordertown, to Days Whiteface and Allendale Studs.

Both studs breed poll Herefords, white suffolks and other breeds of sheep.

We got to have a look at a selection of two-year-old bulls, some of which will be making their way to the national sales at Dubbo and Wodonga, with the remainder being sold at their on-farm sale.

What I saw was a strong line-up of consistent bulls with fantastic temperaments.

A quick look around a group of females proved the consistency of type has a flow-on effect throughout the herd.

A highlight was meeting Days Robin Hood H38 — a truly fantastic beast that is not only a trait leader and a sire to champions, but a beautifully moderate, thick and even bull. He has been a great success for the team at Days Whiteface, and I hope he continues to be. This sire is a real asset to the Hereford fraternity.

A quick drive down the road and we were at Allendale where we saw another selection of sale bulls.

Two stand-outs were a Robin Hood son, and a Remitall West Game Day son. The Game Day son had great length and mobility.

I will watch with interest to see how he breeds in the future.

Then it was on to Yerwal Estate, an Angus and Simmental stud that has had great influence from Woonallee genetics, which shows in the type of their traditional females.

We saw a few calves still on their dams by PHS Bank Roll and they stood out for their rapid growth and incredible muscle definition — they were something else!

Yerwal partake in an extensive ET and AI programme across both breeds, using Australian and international genetics.

Market days are Wednesdays at Mount Gambier, so we shot down for a look.

Numbers were down with only 4000 sheep and 2100 cattle yarded for the day.

Before Christmas numbers were up past 17,000 for sheep.

The systems they have in place allow for minimal, low stress handling of the stock, ease of use, and accuracy of information.

Cattle are yarded the night before the sale then sold the following day and are then processed through the EID weighing system.

The cattle, as a group, are walked through a set of EID readers, then on to a weighing platform.

The total weight is divided by the head of stock, then priced at the kilo amount at which they sold.

This information is almost instant, with a screen above the platform displaying the information as the cattle exit into their yards ready for transport.

This was a very efficient and safe set up, and impressive for its scale and simplicity.

The 2017 Round Up saw 120 Angus Youth members participate, with over 120 head of cattle in attendance.

The day of educational modules was interesting – learning about the intricate details of Australia’s beef industry only confirmed that some of New Zealand’s issues are not special to us.

Their huge live export industry and feed lotting make their matters more complex, but sustainability, welfare and food safety are also high on the scale of importance.

I realised how lucky we are in New Zealand to be pasture and forage cultivar based, to have a climate that allows for that base, and sustainable systems that co-align with environmental constraints.

I have returned to New Zealand with new insight into genetics, management and global standards in beef production.

My thanks to everyone who helped make that experience happen — noteably Allflex and the Future Beef executive committee.

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