Forty weaners from across the country, from Te Anau to Kaikohe, from a mix of pedigree and commercial herds, have been brought together as one mob and are being run on a property in Spring Creek, Marlborough.
The graziers, Bryan and Kathy Dodson, purchase and finish 150 weaners annually with the South Devons having being included in their farming operation. The animals will remain at Spring Creek until they are prime when they will be slaughtered and the carcasses purchased by Elevate Bar and Function Centre, Christchurch, for their restaurant’s South Devon Menu.
One of the purposes of the trial is to see if there is any correlation between what we measure and test on the hoof compared to what is seen on the hook and how this affects the dining experience.
The animals will be weighed monthly, will be DNA tested to predict tenderness, marbling and feed efficiency and will be scanned by Bill and Judy Austin (twice) to measure their EMA, IMF and rib/rump fats. Chris McMahon from Agresearch is recording measurements of the hip and rump width as part of his ongoing research into the quality of New Zealand Beef. Once slaughtered a hot carcass weight will be recorded. Each carcass will undergo an Aust Meat chiller assessment, the loin will undergo MIRINZ shear force measurement testing and the meats PH will be tested.
The animal’s identity will follow it to Elevate where the diners will be asked to complete a short questionnaire in relation to their perception as to the eating qualities of their steak.