Keep calm, carry on genetics
Nick Street says Poll Herefords can be competitive in producing beef.
It’s not just their calm temperament which keeps Nick Street breeding Poll Herefords.
Their impressive feed conversion makes them even more attractive for supplying the feedlot market.
Mr Street, “Bendoc”, Tumbarumba, is slowly building up his herd of Poll Herefords on his 414-hectare property on the edge of the Snowy Mountains, and says they can hold their own when producing quality beef.
With 305 cows, due to calve in the spring, and 160 heifers, due to calve in August, Mr Street said the Poll Hereford’s mothering ability was a huge plus.
“They are quite fertile, easy doing cattle. They are easy to get in calf,” he said.
His cows and heifers are joined for six weeks, with the heifers ready to calve at two years old.
He said the Poll Hereford’s temperament was a reason many breeders preferred them.
“They are quiet livestock. They are just good to work with,” he said.
And Mr Street said eye problems such as cancers and pink eye weren’t a deal breaker.
“It is one of those things you just have to keep any eye out for,” he said.
“Regardless of breed, pink eye can become an issue.
“And also, [Herefords Australia] has been making inroads in testing for genetic conditions.”
And while Mr Street said some breeders were very loyal to the breed, they were rewarded with animals that were easy to fatten.
“They are great at converting grass into meat,” he said.
Mr Street weans his calves in March or April, and retains his heifers to join.
His steers are kept and fattened on pasture until they reach around 15 months of age, and weigh about 460 kilograms.
Then his steers are sold to JBS Australia at Rockdale.
Mr Street said he runs quite a simple outfit, spreading superphosphate and lime, and making silage in a good season.
He buys his bulls exclusively from YavenVale Hereford stud, Adelong, and said he was impressed with their performance.
“They perform well – they are at the forefront of Hereford breeding,” he said.
He said he also liked that YavenVale keeps bulls on pasture, so they can easily adjust to working in the paddock.
Mr Street said he used Breedplan figures to help choose his bulls, and that YavenVale was focusing on marbling in bulls.
“That is one of the weaknesses of the breed – marbling,” he said.
“But I always try and select for a score of one or above for intra-muscular fat (IMF) in Breedplan.
“I want to keep the feedlots happy.
“Herefords can be competitive.”