Cracking Coles’ market | My Machinery
CASE Agriculture
Cracking Coles’ market

A taste for quality meat turned off at an earlier age is driving higher demand for European-cross cattle from Coles supermarkets. Coles’ national livestock manager Dale Pemberton said the company was finding meat from cattle containing 25 to 50 per cent European influence was delivering a product that suited Coles requirements without the use of hormone growth promotants (HGPs). “We’re finding the European-cross cattle deliver a quality animal with good carcase attributes,” he said. “With all breeds, producers need to be conscious of selecting cattle with EBVs (estimated breeding values) with a mature weight suitable to the market they are targeting.” He said that, across all breeds, there were some producers targeting the bigger, heavier types of cattle which would mature later, perhaps missing out on markets like the supermarket trade. “From a Coles perspective, we have been procuring more European-cross cattle,” he said. Mr Pemberton (pictured inset) said European cattle crossed well as they increased growth while still maintaining softness and carcase specifications. “Coles purchased the champion steer, a Simmental, at this year’s Perth Royal; we buy cattle to meet our carcase specifications.” A typical Coles animal weighs between 220 and 280 kilograms (carcase weight) with five to 12 millimetres of fat. “Our average Coles carcase averages 245kg with 5mm to 12mm fat, and we find the European-cross meets these specs,” Mr Pemberton said. “The European-cross complements this and prevents the animal becoming too fat at a lighter weight.” He said producers needed to select EBVs to match the market they were targeting. “Different bulls within a breed do different things; it depends if you’re breeding for a self-replacing herd, or a terminal market. “Selecting within a breed to complement the carcase component is just as important as selecting a breed to suit that. “Trying to breed a carcase at 245kg is different to trying to breed a feeder steer to go on to become an export steer.” Mr Pemberton said traditionally, a lot of cattle producers had bred a straight (breed) of cattle. “We’re seeing more confidence in producers trying hybrid vigour, to provide a quality carcase. “We’ve procured more of these (European-cross cattle) since eliminating HGPs from our stores; we’ve also procured more grass fed cattle. “Becoming HGP free has made us more aware of the performance of cattle.” Since going HGP free, Mr Pemberton said Coles had also processed more cattle than before. “We’ve positioned ourselves in the market to both buy and attract more European-cross cattle.” “We are procuring more, and we have an appetite to procure more.”

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