Woodleigh Genetics Produce the Goods

The entire crop of bull calves born at Woodleigh in 2018, that weren't sold for breeding, have averaged 423 Kg on the hooks at 23 months of age. Fifty seven of the sixty one graded M1.

That's a staggering result by any standards, especially as Northland experienced a pretty mean drought that summer/autumn. The bulls had received no supplements, the 423 Kg average carcass weight being achieved on grass alone.

The attached photographs show high-value cuts taken from one of the Woodleigh bulls, compared with a British breed bull. The British breed bull had six teeth up - the Woodleigh bull had one. At 23 months of age, he would have been almost a year younger.

The traditional breed bull had a 290 KG carcass and graded M2. That's pretty close to the average carcass weight for bulls processed across New Zealand of 300 KG.

The Woodleigh carcass, from which the massive cuts were taken, weighed 445 Kg and graded M1.

Woodleigh Genetics Produce the Goods

While the Woodleigh carcass was 1.53 times heavier than the other bull, it's not hard to see that the weight of meat the carcass was yielding was 2 to 3 times greater than that coming off the traditional breed animal. This has huge implications as more focus comes on the carbon emissions associated with beef production.

In any beef animal, a portion of its methane emissions relate to the maintenance of its body, the other portion being associated with its daily growth. The traditional breed bull, being a year older, would have had almost an extra year's worth of maintenance methane emissions compared with the 23-month-old Woodleigh bull.

At the same time, the photographs show that the Woodleigh bull has produced 2 to 3 times as much saleable meat in only two thirds of the time. And that's what carbon efficiency is all about. The methane emissions per kilogram of edible meat off the Woodleigh bull would have been very significantly lower than the other animal.

The bottom line still matters, of course, and the entire line of Woodleigh bulls averaged $2200 for their meat alone. Not bad for 23 months old bulls. I'd challenge any breeder with any breed to match that kind of performance on grass alone.