McDon­ald moves on from Li­mousins

North East & Goulburn Murray Farmer - - News -

AF­TER 22 years at the helm, Alex McDon­ald has stepped down as gen­eral man­ager of Limousin Aus­tralia.

Mr McDon­ald will take up a new role man­ag­ing the Aus­tralian Cat­tle Ge­net­ics Ex­port Agency di­vi­sion at the Agri­cul­tural Busi­ness Re­search In­sti­tute in­Ar­mi­dale, New South Wales.

The di­vi­sion un­der­takes the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of breed­ing cat­tle ex­ported to Rus­sia, Kaza­khstan and China.

Mr McDon­ald will also head up the ex­ten­sion di­vi­sion at ABRI, which in­cludes the South­ern Beef Tech­nol­ogy Ser­vices and North­ern Beef Tech­nol­ogy Ser­vices projects.

He is one of the long­est serv­ing gen­eral man­agers among Aus­tralian breed so­ci­eties with only Ge­off Tay­lor at the Here­ford So­ci­ety and John Croaker at the Brah­man So­ci­ety hav­ing served longer terms.

With 524 full mem­bers, Limousin Aus­tralia is the fifth largest beef breed in Aus­tralia based on mem­ber­ship and with 6783 reg­is­tra­tions last year, it ranks as the sixth-largest breed based on reg­is­tra­tions.

“Our na­tional sale in May had a 10-year high aver­age price re­flect­ing con­fi­dence in the breed in a fairly tough mar­ket­ing en­vi­ron­ment,” Mr McDon­ald said.

Dur­ing his time with Limousin Aus­tralia, Mr McDon­ald was in­stru­men­tal in the take up of BREED­PLAN by Limousin breed­ers, es­pe­cially the in­tro­duc­tion of an es­ti­mated breed­ing value for docil­ity – a first for Aus­tralian breeds.

Un­der his lead­er­ship, the Limousin breed was the first to im­ple­ment an In­for­ma­tion Nu­cleus pro­gram in­volv­ing a young sire prog­eny test pro­gram.

“The com­pre­hen­sive pheno­typic mea­sure­ments of sig­nif­i­cant num­bers of calves along with DNA ‘SNP’ tests have al­ready been used to test ge­nomic pre­dic­tion equa­tions for Limousin de­vel­oped by Igen­ity and the for­mer Co­op­er­a­tive Re­search Cen­tre for Beef Ge­nomics,” Mr McDon­ald said.

“We com­bined with New Zealand for the first trans-Tas­man BREED­PLAN anal­y­sis in 1995 and in­cor­po­rated their mem­ber­ship in 2009.”

In an­other breed first, the per­for­mance data from Aus­tralia and New Zealand anal­y­sis will soon be com­bined with data from SouthAfrica and Namibia in a sin­gle south­ern Limousin BREED­PLAN anal­y­sis.

Mr McDon­ald said hav­ing Limousin EBVs from four coun­tries on a com­mon base would fa­cil­i­tate trade in ge­netic ma­te­rial.

“In terms of mar­kets, a boon for Limousin has been the move by Coles to sell only beef from an­i­mals not treated with hormonal growth pro­motants (HGPs), as Li­mousins have nat­u­ral muscling due to the unique F94L muscling gene,” he said.

“This gene pro­tects against over fat­ness, par­tic­u­larly in heifers.

“Im­por­tant mar­kets, such as the Euro­pean Union, Rus­sia and China have a zero tol­er­ance of HGPs, so I be­lieve they will even­tu­ally be banned in­Aus­tralia in or­der to pro­tect im­por­tant mar­kets.”

Mr McDon­ald con­sid­ers the breed’s ma­jor role to lie in cross­breed­ing pro­grams with high re­tail beef yields and trop­i­cal cowherds to sat­isfy the do­mes­tic mar­ket.

“Li­mousins have an im­por­tant role to play in pro­duc­ing HGP free beef with high re­tail beef yields and ac­cept­able Meat Stan­dards Aus­tralia in­dex scores,” he said.

MOV­ING ON: Alex McDon­ald stepped down as gen­eral man­ager of Limousin Aus­tralia on June 30 af­ter 22 years.

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