Fixed time program pleases Braidwood beef man
October 26 2016
John Roberts puts his in-calf heifers out on hilly country to get them fit before calving. As a result, he says, he doesn’t pull many calves.
With his wife Fay, Roberts runs up to 600 head of black cattle at Braidwood, NSW. They moved out of Herefords in the 1980s and are now constantly on the lookout for incremental improvements that will add to the bottom line.
Two years ago, after a chance meeting with a vet who was a proponent of Fixed Time Artificial Insemination (FTAI), Roberts decided to give it a try over about 100 heifers. He liked what he saw the first year and is repeating the process this season.
“About 50 per cent of them got in calf to AI through the sync program, which is a pretty good outcome. We got a compressed calving period with them, which gives us a run of early growth young cattle.”
Roberts wants to lift the quality of the gene pool in his herd to get better muscling and quicker weight gain.
“We chose to use the high ranking ABS bull, Millah Murrah KLOONEY K42. That’s one of the advantages of an AI program – we can choose high quality bulls that get the genetic gain going.”
KLOONEY is also a good calving ease bull to use with heifers. He is one of many elite sires ABS is sourcing locally and internationally and making available to the commercial industry.
Local vet, John Sullivan, manages the synchronisation program and does the insemination work. He sees many benefits in a fixed time process for beef producers, not least of which is the ‘whole of breeding life’ benefits from getting heifers in calf earlier.
“The earlier we can get a heifer in calf, the more chance we have of getting her in calf next time because the earlier she calves the more time she has to recover before the next conception,” said Dr Sullivan. The greatest trap he sees is females getting in calf later and later because they are trying to recover their fertility. This becomes a chronic, lifetime problem with lost productivity snowballing each year.
A distinct difference between fixed time AI and a normal AI program is the reduced labour requirement as no heat detection is required with FTAI.
“Producers who have tried AI programs are often concerned about the labour requirement with staff needed to detect heats and many small yardings,” said Dr Sullivan.
With FTAI a manageable mob of up to 100 cattle can be processed in three yardings over a 10 day period.
“If numbers are larger the mob can be split and done in two lots.
“It’s a very easy program to implement. The heifers are synced in a single session and then inseminated 10 days later. There’s usually about a six hour window in which to get the whole mob done,” he said.
Most of the cost of medication for the FTAI program is offset by the reduced labour costs.
By bringing calving forward and delivering a group of young cattle with uniform weaning weights, producers can expect a sales benefit that far outweighs the extra effort in managing a more concentrated AI program.
“A well muscled, uniform group of young cattle with good traits get a quick sale,” said Roberts. “With these ones it took about 40 seconds for the buyer to make a decision.”
The benefits of the FTAI program are not so much about the number of females in calf but about improving the genetic profile of the herd over a number of years.
“The fixed time AI program changes the structure of the herd over time,” said Dr Sullivan. “We see increased weight gain, fewer calving problems and better prices, especially where large numbers are involved.
"There is a significant economic gain and benefits flow on to heifers at their next joining.”
John Roberts is pleased with the program so far and plans to continue it with his heifers for the foreseeable future.
“It will help us to upgrade the gene pool in our cattle and improve the genetic base.
“The cattle in calf to AI are a very good product to sell when they are surplus to our requirements and the replacements we need each year.”
Beef semen sales surge as farmers look to improve genetic potential of cattle
March 22nd 2016
The volume and value of Australian beef semen sales are rising rapidly this year.
Domestic and export demand for Australian beef genetics is up, according to seed stock supplier ABS Australia.
ABS beef product manager Bill Cornell said Australia's declining cow numbers and positive outlook for beef was behind the surging sales.
Read more and listen to snippets of interviews of Bill Cornell and ABS General Manager, James Smallwood, with Rosemary Grant, ABC Rural reporter on the website here.
ABS Australia Involved in Record Breaking Angus Sales
September 10, 2015
It was a day of breaking records at the Thompson Family’s Millah Murrah Angus Bull Sale on 3rd September. The massive crowd was privileged to witness history being made with the highest priced Angus bull ever sold in Australia at an auction that also recorded the highest sale average of any breed ever in Australia.
The high selling bull, Millah Murrah Tex K35 (now renamed Millah Murrah Kingdom K35), sold at the record setting price of $150,000, to a syndicate including ABS Australia, Witherswood Angus, Gilmandyke Angus and Ascot Angus.
| Millah Murrah Kingdom K35|| Millah Murrah Klooney K42|
The second top priced bull, Millah Murrah Theo K42 (now renamed Millah Murrah Klooney K42), also sold to a syndicate including ABS Australia, Witherswood Angus, Gilmandyke Angus, and Cherylton Angus for $80,000.
Spokesperson for the syndicates, John Woodruff, Witherswood Angus, described the bulls as being “correct, thick, with lots of bone and strong sire heads and lovely soft skin.
“They’ve both got pretty much everything. K35 is the perfect package of weight for age, pedigree and quality phenotype that’s rarely found in the Angus breed and K42 is just a beautifully put together young sire from a quite superb cow.
“Both these bulls are going to move the breed to a new level in terms of maternal quality.
“It’s so rare to find two genuine stud sires at a sale that are so even and correct in structure” said Mr Woodruff.
ABS Australia’s Beef Product Manager, Bill Cornell, commented that “We have making regular visits to Millah Murrah because of the awesome maternal power, beautiful phenotype and structural integrity of the herd.
“We started inspecting the 2014 autumn bull crop ten months ago and, as they developed, a couple of individuals rose to the top. The two bulls we selected were K35 and K42.
“We believe that these bulls have a large role to play in reinvigorating maternal cow power phenotype and structure back into the breed.
“The bulls will be available to all seedstock and commercial breeders alike”
The bulls’semen will be available and marketed through ABS Australia under their new names Kingdom K35 and Klooney K42.
Auctioneer Paul Dooley commented after the sale that “While the cattle market has been hitting new highs, today’s sale has reached a new paradigm; it was a hell of sale. Today was the first time I’ve sold a bull for more than $100,000 and sold a catalogue of bulls that has grossed more than a million dollars, it was exciting to be a part of the day and due recognition for the Thompson Family’s breeding program”.