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Abstract

The Beef CRC “Regional Combinations” project and its biophysical outcomes have been described in a range of journal articles and project reports. In this project, different combinations of beef cattle genetics, growth/nutritional pathways and calving seasons were examined across a number of sites in southern Australia for achievement of targeted market specifications. The information provided in these papers and reports allows identification and evaluation of the most profitable regional beef cattle production systems. The focus of this paper is on the Victorian experimental site, where the cattle were finished to slaughter weight on pasture. A range of breed types was included with emphasis on high retail beef yield and high intramuscular fat. Two different growth treatments were imposed following weaning (Fast ~ 0.8 kg/day, Slow ~ 0.6 kg/day), and autumn and spring calving systems were also compared. The effects on carcase and meat quality and enterprise profitability were then examined. Carcase weight and faster growth were the main drivers of profitability at the Victorian site. There were only small and mostly not significant differences between the various sire type groups for carcase weight, except for Wagyu progeny, which had lower slaughter and carcase weights compared with other groups. Furthermore, the results have demonstrated the effect of using BREEDPLAN EBVs for selection of the most appropriate sires to produce carcases with the best compliance to the targeted market. Selection for individual carcase traits had significant effects in one generation, and responses were quite consistent under different growth regimes. In this experiment, there was little difference in mean gross margins between autumn and spring calving.

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