IMPROVING the eating quality of their grass-fed beef has seen long-term producers Peter and Bev Quinn add a third breed to their mix.
The Quinns run 2500 Charbray cows on their northern property Taemas, at Belyando Crossing, before sending their weaner steers, cull heifers and cows to the family property Essex and aggregations at Middlemount to fatten.
The couple, alongside son Matt and Taemas managers Reece and Shae Collins, are focused on improving their MSA indexes to ultimately position themselves to take advantage of premiums they hope will transpire with the introduction of value based marketing.
"It's been a very simple and effective crossbreeding program in which we have used Charalois and Brahman bulls over our breeders in order to breed progeny for our grass fattening program", Mr Quinn said.
"We always thought of putting a third breed in and with the onset of possible VBM coming in the near future, we thought we'd better start.
"Lifting our IMF basically is what we're trying to do."
Mr Quinn said they had used Angus bulls 10-15 years ago but they didn't cross well with his herd so it was obvious Shorthorns were the breed to go with.
"If we are serious about playing in the higher end of grass-fed beef production, we needed to add the British component to the program and the Shorthorn appeared to tick the most boxes."
Mr Quinn said they started with Shorthorns about four years ago, with genetics sourced from The Grove, Weebollabolla and Yamburgan.
The progeny are now 18-20 months old and Mr Quinn said initial results were pleasing.
"As weaners, the Shorthorn progeny were approximately 10-12 per cent or 30 kg heavier than our traditional cross.
"To date, the Shorthorn has added everything we had hoped and then some.
"Within the next 12 months we will have the data from them hanging up, but I'm pretty hopeful and positive about the outcome we will see once they are graded."
The Quinns will be joining the first of the Shorthorn influenced heifers this coming spring.