Raven Limousin and Limflex stud, Field, held the first Bred Well Fed Well cattle workshop in SA late last year.

Know your beef breeding goal: Trompf

BULL buyers should have a clear breeding goal before they spending thousands of dollars on lasting decisions for their herds.

BULL buyers should have a clear breeding goal before they spending thousands of dollars on lasting decisions for their herds.

Renowned livestock consultant and producer Jason Trompf is challenging them to spend more time on their genetic selections.

“The bull you buy, you expect to last 4-5 years and his daughters depending on the operation may be in the herd for 6-10 years, yet many farmers dedicate less than two hours to a 10 year plus purchasing decision – that is not enough,” he said.

“You have got to give more focus to gene harvesting, thoroughly reviewing the line-up on paper and finding those which meet your objectives so that on sale day you can look at those 20 or 30 bulls and make sure they meet visual appraisal.”

Dr Trompf hopes SA producers will attend one of the new Meat & Livestock Australia supported Bred Well Fed Well cattle workshops before autumn bull sales.

“Producers are juggling a lot of competing on-farm and market factors- reproductive performance, growth rates, doing ability versus fit for market with feedback from the MSA grid or other feedback, he said.

“So it takes thought to be able to combine it together into an objective but that is what we come up with, a balanced breeding goal that produces cattle that are fit for farm and fit for market.”

Another key part is a greater understanding of BREEDPLAN percentile band reports showing how individual animals rank compared to others in the industry.

“We have found many are using BREEDPLAN for birth weight but they are not using it across a balance of traits to select for efficiency and balanced performance,” he said.

Dr Trompf said that market research had found the heaviest bulls in the sale were nearly always among the highest priced but were not always ‘value for money.’

“Across sales offering BREEDPLAN information 70 per cent of the value of the bull was decided by the weight of the bull on the day of the sale but if you look at that bull there will be many reasons for their given weight on sale day,” he said.

“It might be a later drop (bull), it might be out of a heifer, thus appearing as a below average weight bull on sale but may actually be a very high performing bull for growth rate.”

“It might also be the bulls being offered are two year olds and the highest performing bull for a producer turning off 14 month old calves is not the heaviest bull at two-years old.

Dr Trompf says the Bred Well Fed Well Cattle program has been adapted from the successful sheep workshops which have reached 4000 producers in the past five years.

The practical one day beef workshops also have a strong nutrition focus, including managing females for optimal reproductive performance.

“It is about hitting key targets at key times such as joining and calving, critical mating weights in heifers and managing them to minimise dystocia (calving difficulties),” he said.

Jason and Penny Schulz, Raven Limousin and LimFlex stud, Field, hosted the first workshop in SA in November last year.

Ms Schulz –  who is also a Bred Well Fed Well presenter –  said with the beef industry on a high it was important producers used all the selection tools available to them.

“When you buy a bull you can’t buy the environment and management it was raised in, all you can do is buy its genetics- it is about looking through the forest and using the EBVs to find the perfect fit for your business .”

The Bred Well Fed Well workshops to be held in January will be held at Days Whiteface in Bordertown (January 22) and Glatz Black Angus in Avenue Range (January 23).

To register for the workshops, contact Penny Schulz on 0417 853 094 or penny@schulzlivestock.com.au

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