McDonald moves on from Limousins
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.