THE Shorthorn breed and Australia’s largest processor have achieved a major milestone with the first cattle processed for JBS Australia’s new grain-fed premium Shorthorn beef brand, Thousand Guineas.
Early last month, 298 steers were processed at JBS’s Riverina plant at Narrandera, NSW, for high-end domestic and international markets.
Another several thousand are on feed in the company’s major feedlots at Beef City near Toowoomba, Qld, Mungindi, Qld, Caroona, NSW, and Prime City near Griffith, NSW. They are being fed for 140 days and require a minimum Aus-Meat marble score 2 to be eligible for the program. The company has provided strong incentives to source the 350 head a week it requires.
The grid prices for Shorthorn-eligible steers between 380 kilograms and 500kg have been running at equivalent or better prices compared to all other breeds in the same weight range.
John and Anne Gould and their sons David and Richard, Lucindale, had cattle in the first consignment, which were sent to Prime City last September. They see it is a tremendous opportunity for the Shorthorn breed to “regain some lost momentum”.
“In the Australia Meat Holdings days, there were only two preferred breeds and one of them was Shorthorns,” John said.
“We are fortunate to have such a big overseas company in JBS on board, which has markets across the world. We need to get behind this and JBS to promote the breed.”
PR Gould & Co has supplied 350 steers to the brand and they have been pleased with the prices, which were in front of European Union prices at the time.
“Like any producer we want to get the most for our product that we can so when this (branded beef) became available we could see a chance to extract some more money,” John said.
The Goulds have built strong relationships with feedlotters for more than 20 years, and have received good feedback on their cattle’s carcase quality. They know the interstate delivery may put off some in SA, but believe even with the freight costs they are in front of selling locally, especially by delivering their own cattle.
“The only concern is whether they will get the cattle for 12 months of the year but hopefully everyone will support it,” John said.
Shorthorn Beef business and promotions manager Graham Winnell is thrilled beef producers from across Australia have signed up to supply the Shorthorn brand in its first six months.
He says it is an important time in the breed’s 216-year history.
“Most of us within the breed know Shorthorn beef is good beef but this is the first time it has been identified for consumers,” he said.
“The brand will not only deliver an eating quality experience but also will begin to tell the Shorthorn breed’s story to the rest of the world.”
Mr Winnell says it will also highlight Shorthorns’ rich and unique heritage and recent performance in the Australian beef industry.
“The Shorthorn breed has the inherent qualities to deliver industry-leading performance to commercial producers,” he said.
“Given the enhancements recently made to Shorthorn Breedplan, the maternal qualities of the breed and the market rewards available, the breed is taking great leaps forward. If we can breed the highest quality product and give the consumer the highest quality eating experience we will get maximum demand for our cattle.”
As part of the verification process, suppliers must be registered with Shorthorn Beef. The organisation will issue a supplier number to add to question nine on the NVD form when cattle are delivered to JBS Australia.
The annual cost is $180, which includes supplier education.
The brand’s name, Thousand Guineas, is named after a prized Shorthorn bull from the 1800s, which sold for this amount of money.