Trial dairy-cross beef cattle being fattened at Greenham’s 3,400ha north-west Tasmanian property, Westmore, are achieving live weight gains equivalent to their beef counterparts.

The trial, which includes 200 head of predominantly Angus, Speckle Park and Hereford-cross steers and heifers, kicked off in December 2020 with the aim of determining if eligible dairy-cross beef cattle, raised on a 100% grassfed diet, would deliver on-farm performance and eating quality outcomes comparable to beef cattle raised under the same conditions.

Trial cattle are broken up into two age groups:

The first group arrived at Westmore in December 2020, and the second in April 2021.

Greenham Livestock Supply Chain Manager, Jessica Loughland said the trial is being conducted in support of the Greenham Dairy Beef Program (DBP), which is currently being piloted in Tasmania.

In partnership with key domestic and international customers, Greenham developed the dairy beef supply chain for high-quality beef cattle from dairy herds. Launched in July, the supply chain provides a valuable alternative pathway for dairy-cross calves and eligible finished cattle and addresses growing consumer welfare concerns and key purchase drivers.

“The results of this trial will help inform on-farm management decisions,” Jessica said.

Westmore Manager, Aiden Coombe said the cattle, which are rotationally grazed in mobs of 280-300 head and raised on grass and additional silage as required, demonstrated no “discernable difference” between the live weight gains of equivalent dairy and beef groups.

“Trial results show that they are achieving live weight gains on par with equivalent beef cattle,” he said.

“All trial cattle handled the colder months very well without any special care. We strategically used  parts of the property with good windbreaks so they had respite from wind and rain.”

All incoming cattle at Westmore undergo an induction within the first two weeks on the property that includes three boluses, an oral liver fluke drench and a seven-in-one vaccination, followed by a drench and a shot of B12 after three months.

Average live weight gains

Group 1 (24 months)*

 AvgweightAvg liveweight gains/day*

*since August 2021

Group 2 (12-24 months)

 AvgweightAvg liveweight gains/day*

*since May 2021

MSA grading results (group one)

Marbling (AUS-MEAT)1.92
P8 fat13.41
Rib fat9.16
MSA Index60.49
MSA compliance100%