Growing more with grass
22 November 2017
James and Sal Morse have a goal for their cattle enterprise to become 100% grassfed “year-round harvesters of sunlight”.
And Meat Standards Australia (MSA) will play an important role helping the achieve that goal on their 1,500ha property 'Wongalee' at Molong in central west NSW, which they run with their children Gracie and George.
Price premiums provided by MSA was what initially attracted the Morse’s to the program more than a decade ago.
But the feedback available through the myMSA website will play an important role in helping to refine their herd as they move towards a continual turnover of grassfed beef. The Morse's cattle have achieved an MSA Index of 61.55 for the past 12 months, putting them in the top 25% of MSA producers and well above the national average of 57.9.
“Being able to turn off grassfed beef year-round is our ultimate,” Sal said.
“Our cattle will run as a contemporary unit and MSA feedback will help to make sure we’re making those specs, particularly marbling and maturity patterns."
With an average rainfall of about 650mm the family normally run a mix of about 500-600 Angus and Sim-Angus cows and calves.
“We've been holistically managing the property for the past 10 years in an effort to increase ground cover, improve soil quality and ultimately improve profitability and sustainability,” James said.
Through their improved sustainability measures the Morse’s aim to increase their herd capacity to 750 plus.
“We run everything in one mob, we run it holistically, and everything is moved regularly,” James said.
The Morses are passionate about not supplement feeding their cattle, saying they “would rather sell than supplement”.
“This is not a new focus for us, it’s just good management,” Sal said.
They practice rotational grazing, currently based on 120 paddocks with cattle moved every one or two days. Paddocks are given about four months to recover.
Some paddocks have been sown to pasture with a mix of 10 different species including chicory, plantain, vetch, two varieties of Lucerne, two varieties of Phalaris, cocksfoot, prairie grass, sub, balansa and white clovers.
Animals at 'Wongalee' are selected based on temperament, growth, tenderness, maternal qualities and fertility.
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