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Virtual on-farm competition, Class 7, Crossbred heifer born in 2019

The results are in for the crossbred heifer class, thanks must go to Reed Rigney Canada for judging this class.

Results and Comments from the Judge

I have judged this class as a market class rather than breeding stock, though I think one needs to follow the other in type somewhat in order to have a functional animal. I tried to find literature on what type of animal is wanted/needed in the UK market, but there really wasn't anything definitive. I did find a paper entitled entitled Carcass grading and payment systems to improve the eating quality of UK meat, ( and it was an interesting read. I think at the end of the day the most yield does not always make you the most money on the hook, nor make for the most content consumer. In fact it is more of a balance taking in cost of gain, carcass yield and eating quality.

The North American market requires animals that have depth of body and overall rumen capacity to convert roughage type diets through the growing/fattening phases as those diets are the most cost effective. Animals lacking in capacity cannot eat as much roughage, therefore grow and fatten more slowly and do not fit the beef commodity system. You can feed more concentrated diets, but this increases your costs of gain to the point that it may not be economical.The leaner breeds also have much lower levels of marbling which downgrades them in our markets, though their yield percentage and meat tenderness is generally better. There are niche markets for leaner, more extreme muscled animals, but these are small in number.

There are also differences in the Canadian and US markets; Canadian generally select a leaner cut than American consumers. However those who have eaten Blonde meat know that they provide a quality eating experience with their tender, fine grained and lean product.

I would be very interested to read your comments on what you think of this class and how you view the beef production industry in the UK.

1st - Lot 6 - S & G Campbell

I have tried to balance traits in this class and I believe this heifer does that best. She has the body capacity to eat and grow combined with muscle expression for yield and the ability to lay down some fat cover and marbling to suit consumer needs.

2nd - Lot 2 - S Gregory

This heifer follows the first place heifer fairly closely in type. Though the first two pictures don't show her at her best, the last two pictures show an animal with body capacity and muscle expression that should combine to ensure she feeds well while also producing enough meat yield.

3rd - Lot 4 - T Johnston

This heifer definitely has the muscle expression and type to be high yielding, which she combines in an attractive package that likely wins in a UK show ring. However her lower capacity and breed type likely mean that she will be slower to reach market weight and have lower fat cover/marbling than the heifers above her.

Well done to everyone who took part.

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