THE Harvey Beef Gate 2 Plate Challenge field day was back on the events calendar last week at the Lyon family's Willyung Farms' feedlot at Albany.
The challenge is now in its ninth year and despite there only being two field days in the past four years due to COVID-19, the challenge itself has continued.
This year's challenge, which kicked off in January, has attracted 57 teams from 43 different enterprises not only from the local area but also from across the South West region.
As in past years the teams are made up of one heifer and two steers and attendees at the field day were able to inspect the cattle in the feedlot and were provided with an update on how the teams are performing.
Willyung Farms' Sandy Lyon said he was very happy with how the cattle were performing so far this year in the feedlot.
"Their feed consumption has been really good and they have been eating up to 16 kilograms a day and they have really powered along in the past three weeks," Mr Lyon said.
"The steers have an average daily gain of 1.86 kilograms per day and the heifers are doing 1.76kg/day.
"The performance of the cattle this year in the feedlot is looking at being the best we have ever seen in the challenge.
"They came into the feedlot in really good condition and they have just gone on from there.
"Compared to the first challenge, the producers are now preparing the cattle much better to enter the feedlot and as result we are seeing better performance.
"They have learnt over the years what type of cattle and how to present them to get the best results."
Mr Lyon said good weather conditions this year had also played a part in how the cattle were performing.
"We have really good weather and very little rain, so they have had no setbacks on that front either," he said.
In the feedlot the cattle have been on mainly a barley and oaten silage ration that has a metabolisable energy of 12.9 megajoules.
When the teams entered the feedlot on January 30, the average induction weight of the teams were 336.22 kilograms, with the steers averaging 338.8 kg and the heifers 330.85kg.
When weighed last week (March 22), the teams had an average mid-term weight of 433.08kg, with the steers averaging 437.43kg and the heifers 424.36kg.
This equates to an average weight gain of 96.86kg across all animals after 53 days on feed, with the teams ranging between 68-120kg.
Overall the steers have gained an average of 98.58kg and heifers 93.51kg.
This means the daily gain across all the cattle in the challenge sits at an average 1.83kg/day with teams ranging between 1.28kg/day and 2.26kg/day.
Recording the top team average weight gain of 120kg and highest average daily gain of 2.26kg/day has been a Limousin-Angus team entered by Ravenhill Pastoral, Narrikup.
The next result has been recorded by a Red Angus-Blonde d'Aquitaine cross team from Evensong Farm, Serpentine, which has gained an average 116kg at a rate of 2.19kg/day.
Two entries, a Limousin-Angus team, from John Galati Family Trust, Brunswick and a Murray Grey team from Waratah Family Trust, Redmond, have recorded the third highest results with a team average gain of 115kg at a rate of 2.17kg/day.
The heaviest average team weight at induction was 395kg and it was recorded against two teams - a team of Angus and a team of Murray Greys from Warratah Family Trust and after 53 days on feed these teams are still the heaviest with the Murray Grey teaming averaging 510kg and the Angus 486kg.
Feeding of the animals in the challenge is not far from finishing, with the heifer cohort having about 10 days left on feed and the steers three weeks.
Harvey Beef Gate 2 Plate Challenge president Wayne Mitchell said it was great to see a good turn out to the field day.
"We had about 150 people in attendance throughout the day and I think everyone would have walked away having learnt something from the presentations and displays," Mr Mitchell said.
"It was also a great opportunity to see how the cattle entered in the challenge were going before they go off to be processed in the coming month.
"It was an interactive day and we thank all our supporters who had displays as they provided another learning opportunity for those present."
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