THE steers have been transported to the feedlot and inducted, and the 2013 NSW Beef Spectacular Feedback Trial is now underway.
NSW Department of Primary Industries beef cattle officer Jeff House, Forbes, inspecting the 2012 NSW Beef Spectacular Feedback Trial steers after induction.
The trial, conducted by The Land in conjunction with the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) and Teys Australia, has developed and grown to become one of the biggest commercial feedlot trials in Australia since it began in 2009.
This year has seen the number of steers entered in the Feedback Trial almost double, with 76 teams of five steers entered, for a total number of 380 steers on feed.
This is a dramatic increase on previous years, where numbers had usually sat around 200 head.
The Feedback Trial is carried out at Teys Australia's Jindalee Feedlot at Stockingbingal, near Temora in Southern NSW, where steers undergo a standard 112-day feeding program.
Producers from across eastern Australia have entered steers in this year's trial, with steers coming from as far north as Condamine in Queensland.
NSW producers have proven keen to receive feedback on their steers, with producers from across the State putting teams forward.
A number of teams from Victorian producers have also been entered, with steers from as far south as Koonwarra, near Leongatha in Gippsland.
The steers were inducted into the feedlot on September 21, and NSW DPI beef cattle officer Jeff House, Forbes, said despite a much larger number of steers entered this year, the quality was definitely still there.
"They did look like a really good line of cattle," Mr House said.
"I'd say the quality of the steers was a little better than it has been before.
"Their fat levels looked really good, with the bulk of the steers in store condition and ready to go.
The steers for this year's trial comprise 13 different breeds, including Angus, Shorthorn, Hereford, Poll Hereford, Blue-E, Charolais, Red Angus, Aust-ralian Beef Composites, Speckle Park, Simmental, Maine Anjou, Red Poll and Fleckvieh, as well as numerous crosses of these breeds.
Mr House said there was a difference in the type of steers across the entries.
"We've seen some more European-type steers entered, and steers with different frame sizes and maturity patterns," he said.
"This is a really good thing, as it lets us look at the performance of different types of cattle in the feedlot."
This year's trial has seen an increased number of commercial producers entering steers in the trial, with about 70 per cent of the cattle entered coming from purely commercial breeders.
Mr House felt that while there were still a number of studs entering steers looking to gain feedback, they were also encouraging their commercial clients to enter steers as well.
"Previously we've seen a lot of studs entering steers, and these animals are generally the ones that aren't quite good enough to be kept as bulls, so they're not their really top animals," Mr House said.
"With commercial producers, their steers are normally the top of their drops, so we're getting feedback from the best of their animals."
Another reason for studs to encourage commercial producers to enter their steers was the $2000 advertising package put forward by The Land.
The team with the highest point score from a commercial producer at the end of the competition will win the $2000 advertising package for the stud that encouraged them to put forward their steers.
The availability of free transport to the feedlot, provided by Martin's Stock Haulage, and also free Bovilus vaccinations from Coopers Animal Health had also boosted entry numbers.
Mr House said overall the Beef Spectacular Feedback Trial was a great opportunity for producers to gain valuable feedback on their cattle.
"The big thing with a trial like this is it allows people to enter animals that they mightn't have considered sending to a feedlot before," Mr House said.
"A team of five steers is big enough to get good information back from, but it's not as big a risk for producers as putting in a line of 50 or 60 steers.
"It also give smaller producers the opportunity to test out their genetics."
A mid-term field day will be held at Jindalee Feedlot on Wednesday, December 5, allowing entrants and interested producers the opportunity to inspect the steers in the feedlot, prior to the steers being processed at Teys Australia's Wagga Wagga abbatoir on January 11, 2013.
A presentation dinner will then be held on Friday, February 1, 2013.
The Land would like to thank the sponsors of the event, including Certified Australian Angus Beef, Teys Australia, NSW DPI, Martin's Stock Haulage, Coopers Animal Health, Riverina Australia and Leader Products.