Ausline Meating the Market
The Ausline breed is really beginning to gain greater acceptance within the commercial environment. Many of our members have commercial clients in a wide variety of commercial enterprises. Word of mouth has seen our number of clients grow each year and result in repeat sales which is the best recommendation there is. Their breeding program strategically caters for this market, supplying larger framed bulls that they know will be able to not only serve these females but also survive in the harsher environment.
In 2015, ten Ausline Bulls were sold to a Commercial Angus breeder with 1000 breeding females in the New England district. They want to reduce the frame size of their females, eliminate their calving problems and at the same time produce an animal that will finish entirely on grass so they can supply for a branded grass fed label at an earlier age than their current Angus herd will allow.
Why Choose Ausline?
As these commercial producer relate “we use Ausline bulls over all our heifers for two main reasons. Firstly for ease of calving which has greatly reduced our problems and secondly they produce a better quality carcass than any other option we have tried in the past”. Their commercial heifers, in the past have experienced a number of calving difficulties. They are happy to report that they no longer have that problem. Some concede that many producers, due to the size of the paddocks and number of breeders, just let their heifers die if there is a calving problem but they can’t afford to take that attitude. Not only from a commercial point of view but also from one of animal welfare. Many have tried using Jersey’s, littermates (young bulls of other breeds) and straight Angus bulls but neither of these options gave a satisfactory result.
Market Specifications: When sent to the butcher these steers and heifers expected dressed weights range from 200-220kg with 5-7mm fat.
The Feeding Regime of one Commercial Producer: The calves, once weaned between six and eight months of age, are grass fed on buffel grass. The weaners have continual access to Anipro (a liquid molasses based supplement) until they are yearlings. They are then brought in and finished on grain for between 50-60 days. At any one time they have between 80 and 100 head of yearlings on grain from continual access to self-feeders. The cattle on average put on 1.5kg per day at a cost of $1.00 per day. The cattle are fed on a combination of grain, which is all hammer milled on site, cottonseed and feedlot 80 ration. The Poulsen’s have been MSA accredited since its inception and John is also a butcher by trade. He also states that from his experience and on his type of country any animal with Ausline/Angus component will always be ready for market faster than any other type of breed.
The Final Verdict: Perhaps the most significant result has been, by investing in Ausline bulls, the ability to increase their beef sales by 40% due to continuity of product and quality.
MEET SOME OTHER COMMERCIAL BREEDERS:
“I had been looking around for a bull for sometime time and knew what I wanted but not really where to find it. I attended the Vitulus Field Day in 2007 and found exactly what I wanted, Ausline/Angus cross bull. He was young, good structure, very solid unit & with great temperament (so quiet he loves a pat & scratch in the paddock). I run a small property of nearly 200 acres with 23 breeders mainly Angus heifers and some Murray Greys at Dalveen near the border in classic Granite Belt country. This country is unique in its own right with very cold winters sometimes even snow/sleet. I do not live on the property so when choosing cattle male or female I look for a specific animal type. My requirements are very strict. They must be: quiet, solid consistent performers, non-strayers, easy calving and most importantly black. Not being there it’s important that all of the above happen without me. The first lot of calves hit the ground with a 100% calving rate that’s excellent in anybody’s books. This little man is certainly adding value to my property and I would recommend any body looking at an easy to handle but solid performing bull look at Auslines ”. . Dalveen. Qld
Anonymous, St George: This client came to buy an Ausline bull, via recommendation. He rang to buy a bull, as he ‘was sick of pulling calves from his stud females’ and he wanted some bulls that would produce low birth weights. He even had to shoot one of his $30,000 stud heifers due to a broken pelvis from calving’. As the seedstock industry chases bigger and bigger frame scores thinking that bigger is better the resultant problem is that these heifers just cannot calve to these large framed bulls and they end up with dead calves and often dead cows as well. This client has over 40,000 acres between two properties with over 600 breeders running Charolais, Charbray, Santa Gertrudis, Angus and Hereford breeders. As well as having to contend with the drought and continual hand feeding of his animals he has also had significant calving problems. As he explained “with the two properties being over 200 km apart it is hard to keep a check on things”. He also intends to keep some of the bull calves from these joinings to use as heifer bulls.
The Cross family have properties at Dirranbandi and St George. In total they have in excess of 10,000 acres with over 250 breeders. They use purebred Ausline bulls over their Hereford and Hereford Angus cross heifers. Calving occurs from September to November and then turn their progeny off between 18months to two years of age. The biggest benefit for the Cross family has been peace of mind during the calving season with NO calving problems whatsoever. They have also retained some of these Ausline cross bull calves to grow out to use as well to see if they can slightly increase the finishing weight of these progeny.
MEET SOME COMMERCIAL AUSLINE MEMBERS:
Vitulus uses fullblood Ausline bulls over its commercial breeder herd which include Limousin/Murray Grey and Senepol/ Belmont Red females. These are large framed, 550-600kg females. The reason we choose those breeds is that the European content gives the muscling whilst the British content gives the softness and finishing ability. It also maximises the hybrid vigour. The bulls have no problems reaching these females and the resultant progeny fits the domestic supermarket trade absolutely perfectly. Vitulus turns the steers off between 18 to 23 months achieving averaged finished weights of around 350-450kg. These steers are the reason for our success in carcass competitions and, it is our belief that this is because the Ausline content allows these steers to obtain the perfect fat coverage so that they obtain maximum points available. Our 2007 & 2009 Grand Champion Carcass steer was achieved with only 90 days on grain. Vitulus, to date, has been placed in a large number of carcass competitions so we know what it takes to win. The rewarding part of carcass competitions is that it is open to all breeds and it is judged on specific defined criteria and not subjective personal opinions.
Kobblevale uses full blood Ausline cows and bulls to create a female commercial herd that matches the environment where the farm is situated. The concern with drought and the management of the cattle on a large scale basis, mean that the females have to be able to look after themselves for much of the time. Brahman cattle have been used with the Ausline to create a group of females that cope with these conditions, but produce tender and tasty beef. Phil Labrie is then able to use his Ausline/Limousin or Ausline/Charolais bulls to produce steers that are 50% Ausline 25% European and 25% Brahman. At milk to two tooth the steers produce carcases of 220-240kg, about 40kg to 60 kg heavier than full blood Ausline steers. These steers are readily accepted at the sale yards or used in the family’s Fairymount Fine Food meat business. Phil has a market for his full blood Ausline bulls in the local area and as far as Texas on the Queensland/NSW border. A fellow Jandowae cattleman is using an Ausline bull this year for the first time and is so pleased with the progeny that he intends to keep some of the female calves as breeders. Another large scale producer in the Chinchilla area has been using Kobblevale Ausline bulls with his composite herd composed of Gelbveih, Red Angus and Belmont Red females. The progeny are sold to the works as finished weaner/yearlings. This farmer first used Auslines as a way of getting his large framed females in calf at an earlier age, with no worries about them carrying a calf while still not completely mature and ultimately having a stress free calving. He is able to achieve a finished, 350 – 400kg live weight beast by the age of 12 months, completely on grass. The influence of the Ausline maturity pattern is the key to his operation.
Through his Fairymount Fine Foods business, Phil has come to understand another major advantage that using Ausline genetics can impart. Many beef lovers reject the taste of beef from young animals that are often presented for sale. To achieve that really mature beef taste that consumers are asking for, it is necessary to allow the animals to mature longer… but with an increase in age, there can be a corresponding decrease in tenderness. However, with the tenderness inherent in the genetics of the Ausline breed, it is completely possible to manage tenderness and taste. Kobblevale uses genetic testing of its bulls to be sure that the meat presented to its demanding clients is tender and tasty.
Science Helps Makes Our Beef Better: Margo Hayes is also a firm believer that smaller cattle have finer grained beef and finer grained beef is the most tender due to the shorter cell structure. Margo believes this explains why the breed has been so successful in MSA awards. The MSA Grading Model predicts eating quality of 40 muscles by 6 different cooking methods and is the benchmark standard for high quality table beef. GeneStar technology and in particular the tenderness gene is chased by aiming to use bulls in their breeding program with the highest tenderness score. Recent scientific testing of Vitulus Steers has shown the Omega 3 to Omega 6 ratio as 1:1 (which is perfect), protein content of 21% and a saturated fat content of 2.4% and monounsaturated fat of 2.6%.
The Market of the Future: The commercial advantage begins to emerge at about 12-14 months as the Ausline starts to mature and begins putting his energy into developing muscle and fat rather than bone growth and body form. The argument that many breeders of other traditional breeds will have is that their cattle will be 50 kg heavier at this age. Whilst this may be true the difference lies in the cost of finishing that animal which is the major cost to meat producers. Time and time again we see producers trying to fatten their large framed steers that continue to grow rather than producing fat. Auslines help ‘down turn’ the high growth curve of regular cattle so that they can mature earlier and express fattening ability at an earlier age. In addition now that many abattoirs are charging per kg of liveweight and not per head the butcher will be more determined than ever to purchase beasts that are going to yield well and not just weigh heavy due to bone which, we all know, is wastage.