Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Beef Cattle for a Change!

Hello readers,

   Hyatt here again, for better or worse. I wanted to briefly share with you our experience at Joanna Plains, a division of Carpenter Beef in Cataby, Western Australia.

  For our last day of agricultural 'touring', we got to meet up with a good friend of mine, Hayley Robinson. First thing in the morning, she drove us out to the largest pig abattoir in WA, Linley Valley Pork, where we toured the facility and met with Dr. Megan Trezona and other employees at the facility.

 However, I wanted to focus on the afternoon trip to the feedlot. Joanna Plains is a cattle operation specializing in producing high marbling cattle for export to Japan. Their cow base is made up primarily of Angus x Wagyu females, who are usually crossed with purebred Wagyu bulls to produce long-fed feedlot cattle. The offspring are grass-fed for approximately 12 to 18 months before entering the feedlot for a slow, but steady grain finishing period of approximately 300 days. Wagyu cattle grow much more slowly than most beef breeds, but because of hundreds of years of genetic selection, have the unique capability of producing extremely high quality beef without excessive external fat.

The feedlot's main feed sources are locally-produced oat hay, barley and lupins. Lupins are a legume that are primarily raised in WA and serve as a drought-tolerant crop that is similar in composition to soybeans and serves as a protein source for livestock.

Our friend Hayley, and her husband Brad, who is the feedlot manager at Joanna Plains, were both great hosts and also took us to see the plans for the new feedlot, set to hold an additional 6,000 head as well as the state-of-the-art abattoir that they have invested in and is close to being complete. The owners of the operation have decided to build their own abattoir in order to improve their marketability to Japan and improve their ability to capitalize on the superior quality of their beef.

All in all, it was a great visit and we really enjoyed catching up with Hayley and Brad, who will be coming out to the US in January with the Australian Meats Judging Team to compete at the Denver Stock Show and Southwestern Livestock Exposition in Fort Worth, Texas.

Finally, for those of you who like my nature pics, we also stopped to see a shingleback lizard who was sunning himself in the road. It was our first time seeing one in the wild, which was pretty cool.

As you can see, Brandi was pretty excited about it!

Thats all for now, enjoy!


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