Been a very busy year for us and I expect yourselves also.
Murray Greys have done very well in steer competitions and we think it is an important activity to maintain for our profile. Red Bend Catholic College at Forbes prepared and exhibited one of our steers by NJS C10 at Sydney Royal Easter Show 2012. He competed in Class 5 Lightweight Open Steer 361 to 379kg live weight against17 other entries to achieved 83 points on the hook to be placed 3rd (Bronze Medal). They have just taken delivery of 2 nice fellows for Sydney 2013 (one by NJS E28 and the other by NJS E26) so looking forward to that.
We would like to see the Murray Grey National become a venue for the elite animals in the breed to be displayed and on offer. To this end we have decided to show NJS F32 Devanah Fellini at Canberra and have then entered him for the National. We used him as a yearling so have 15 lovely calves on the ground, plus we expect another 35 cows in Autumn 2013 and have him in the can. He is a big soft bull and does have a high birth weight ebv but we had no trouble from 2nd calvers. Have attached an image of one of his bull calves NJS H39 weaned 2 weeks prior with no supplementary feeding.
Our inaugural Production Sale held with the Hobbs family Waroona Murray Grey Stud went quite well and we aim to make improvements each year. We didn’t sell all of the animals offered at the time but attracted some new to Murray Grey customers. The pleasing thing was that many who could not attend the sale or were not ready to buy at the time have subsequently made purchases. We also were pleased with the marketing advantage that having a sale confers and feel our own and the breed’s profile has been lifted overall especially in our region.
For our sale on Friday 3rd May, 2013 Devanah will not be offering any cows with calves at foot but only ptic or unjoined animals. Currently Devanah has 6 very nice ‘G’ heifers being joined to NJS E47 Devanah Ecuador to be ptic for a Spring calf at 2.5 years of age, 8 unjoined ‘H’ Heifers and around 15 ‘G’ bulls. Roger Evans has scanned and assessed all of our G animals for carcase and structure so our ebv’s are as complete as is possible and up for you to see on Breedplan. Once again we invite commercial female entries, please see form attached.
Thirty of our ‘G’ animals of both sexes including most of those in the sale were in the Young Animal Genotype Project. The aim of this was to be able to improve the accuracy of EBV’s much earlier than is currently possible thereby providing greater certainty of their future performance. Unfortunately we have no results as yet but they were all DNA sequenced and sire verified as part of this which was of benefit anyway.
We are and have been for a long time diligent with our performance recording. Communication with other breeders and input from Andrew Byrne from ABRI has helped us to understand and to be able to use the EBV’s generated to benefit our breeding programme greatly. We would like to share a couple of these findings.
If the environment in which the cattle are run has periods of low nutritional value it is important to have positive fats in females to maintain fertility. Recently published CRC research on low/high fat heifers found a 13% difference in conception rates but then stated that cows were not so sensitive. In our herd however where we calve at 24 months we find that it is also significant for 3rd conception particularly if mature cow weight is above average. Unfortunately fat and muscle are antagonistic to each other and so there are very few sires in the breed with both so it is a constant work in progress.
There are a number of factors that influence birth weight and calving ease however a negative gestation length is very helpful for calving ease particularly when using a large bull. Maintaining a herd of uniform size and matching bulls to them is also very helpful.
We wish everyone a great 2013 year.