Coyles come home with Most Out­stand­ing award

North East & Goulburn Murray Farmer - - NEWS -

ROSS and Colin Coyle, grass­fed beef pro­duc­ers from Wodonga, have taken out the 2017 MSA Ex­cel­lence in Eat­ing Qual­ity Most Out­stand­ing Beef Pro­ducer award for Vic­to­ria.

Some 18 years af­ter reg­is­ter­ing as Meat Stan­dards Aus­tralia-ac­cred­ited beef pro­duc­ers, the Coyles have nar­rowed down the two fac­tors they think are key con­trib­u­tors to the eat­ing qual­ity of beef – tem­per­a­ment and han­dling.

“Get­ting cat­tle to grade into the top of the MSA In­dex bands is 90 per cent about what you put down their throats - and the rest is keep­ing them quiet through han­dling,” Ross Coyle said.

“Breed­ing isn’t ev­ery­thing for us.

“Cer­tainly, the bet­ter-bred cat­tle will get to the stan­dard quicker but by sup­ply­ing good qual­ity feed and treat­ment you can get most breeds to grade well – some just take longer than oth­ers.”

An added chal­lenge for Ross - and his fa­ther Colin - is that the steers they turn off an­nu­ally on 2000 hectares of mixed coun­try are des­tined for Green­ham’s Smith­ton pro­cess­ing plant, a ferry ride across Bass Strait to north west Tas­ma­nia.

“I think it’s tes­ta­ment to our op­er­a­tion that we can load the steers onto trucks at 8am or 9am, drive them down to the Port of Mel­bourne and onto the ferry and they’re at Smith­ton for the next morn­ing’s kill, and they grade up there with the best of the MSA beef,” Ross said.

Trad­ing as CW Coyle & Sons, the Coyles reg­is­tered their farm, Mur­ray View, as an MSA sup­plier in 1999.

Fast for­ward al­most two decades and the stan­dards have be­come “more a mat­ter of com­mon sense”.

“Once you get in­volved in ad­her­ing to the MSA pro­to­cols on the farm you start to see the ben­e­fits in grad­ing, and that has an im­pact on things like the num­ber of dark cut­ters, where the beef shows signs of stress in the cat­tle,” Ross said.

“We get very few dark cut­ters, we pride our­selves on that.

“Twelve months ago I went to Smith­ton to watch the MSA graders work­ing and that helped me to un­der­stand the rea­son­ing be­hind the stan­dards.”

The Coyles buy in steers at 8-12 months old from the nearby Bar­nawartha North sa­le­yards, one of the big­gest in the state, and grow them out to over 600kg.

The pair selects mostly British breeds – Ross say­ing he liked An­gus, but will also buy in Here­fords, Shorthorn and Black Baldys from a range of breed­ers.

“I se­lect more on type, but we recog­nise good cat­tle and if they’re at the sa­le­yards next time we’ll go back and buy from the same ven­dor,” he said.

“We used to se­lect mainly on size, an­i­mals with as big a frame as fit­ted our bud­get, but now I take tem­per­a­ment into ac­count a lot more and I’ll cer­tainly go past a pen if there are cat­tle in there that are stirred up and stressed.

“I think the big­gest fac­tor in get­ting cat­tle to grade well is keep­ing them quiet, han­dling them and keep­ing the mobs sep­a­rated with good nu­tri­tion.”

On ar­rival at Mur­ray View, young cat­tle are drenched, ear tagged and their in­di­vid­ual num­ber recorded, then put out into the fam­ily’s hill coun­try - kept lightly stocked and grow­ing mainly na­tive pas­tures such as clovers, ryes and red grass in an an­nual rain­fall zone of 710mm.

“We might take a round bale of lucerne hay up to them to get them com­ing to us, but oth­er­wise there’s not too much con­tact, although there are pub­lic walk­ing tracks through there so they get quite used to see­ing peo­ple, which is good,” Ross said.

Af­ter six to eight months, the cat­tle are brought down onto the flat­ter, more im­proved coun­try for an­other six to eight months and han­dled more of­ten.

“They’re graz­ing phalaris and clover pas­tures and are sup­ple­mented with some hay or silage, and we’re driv­ing around and through them so they get very quiet,” Ross said.

The MSA Most Out­stand­ing Beef Pro­ducer award was open to pro­duc­ers that used any pro­duc­tion sys­tem to achieve MSA el­i­gi­ble cat­tle and ex­cluded those cat­tle that met grain-fed beef spec­i­fi­ca­tions.

Two other pro­duc­ers from the North East, M and K Pund from Beech­worth and Al­loa Pas­toral Co from Mi­lawa, were also fi­nal­ists in the awards – though the lat­ter be­ing in the grain-fed cat­e­gory.

The awards night din­ner was held at Lard­ner Park, in Gipp­s­land, late last month.

WIN­NERS: Wodonga farm­ers Ross and Colin Coyle have won the 2017 MSA Ex­cel­lence in Eat­ing Qual­ity Most Out­stand­ing Beef Pro­ducer award.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.