We calve in Autumn following experimentation in our early years. This means the cows are dry during the hot summer months at Forbes, calve onto freshly growing pastures (hopefully), and rear their calves over Winter and Spring on growing pastures. We can then wean the calves onto highly nutritious mature/seeding pastures in November.
Temperament: We cull any animal that concerns us for both our own and our clients safety. Clients should be able to inspect bulls in the yards calmly.
- Females calve at two years old
- Aim for every female to have a live calf at foot every year unassisted over 3 cycles. Our calving histogram has 13% early 47% calving on the first cycle, 29% on the second and 12% on the third which is good
- Aim for female fats to be above average especially if they have a higher mature cow weight or milk than average.
- Above breed average Scrotal Size as this is important for both male and female fertility.
- Negative Gestation Length very helpful
- Birthweights both actual and EBV monitored carefully
- Well laid in shoulders (not pointy)
- Good neck extension
- Do not mind dropped pins to an extent as good for calving ease (think of tropical breeds run extensively) although we do not actively seek this.
- To assist with our culling decisions, we have for many years had our yearlings independently assessed by an accredited assessor culling any animal that is not suitable for seedstock production (includes feet, legs, naval/pizzle, jaws)
- Vet checks pelvic area for both heifers and bulls – we cull any that are flagged as a bit tight.
- Udder well supported with nicely sized teats and prefer dark skin
- Maintain our herd between 5.5 and 7 frame size
- Aim to keep EMA above average
- Aim to keep fats including especially IMF above average
- B/C muscle where possible but not at expense of fats for females
- Aim for above average weight and ebv’s especially 400 and 600.
- Mature Cow Weight around breed average but like to be equal to or less than 600 day weight
- Milk figure around average keeping in mind cows may struggle to rejoin if heavy milkers in a hard year. Milk is not highly heritable and so EBV less accurate.
- Broad muzzle
- Hooded eyes
- Short, smooth, soft coat
- Thick long tail (strong spine)
- Straight topline (do not mind dropped pins to an extent as good for calving ease), do not tolerate weakness behind shoulders
- Deep body and hindquarter
- Good skin pigment and dark hooves in Silver/Grey animals (we join grey x silver to assist with this).
- Genetic diversity using tools such as Sire Select and Matesel – under 5% is the aim. Also attention to pedigrees and known successful combinations.
- Genetic faults/diseases – strategic testing to prevent carrier aimals. Ensure sires free Red gene.
When all of these things align the $ indices go up also but we certainly like to have them in the top 20%.