Quality sire comes from proven cow family
When Paul Mumford breeds dairy cows, he wants “everything”. And it turns out this is exactly what South African and New Zealand Jersey breeders want too.
Paul and his wife Lisa, Gelbeado Park, Yarram, Victoria, bred Gelbeado Park Woodside (CSCWOODSIDE), the ABS Australia Jersey sire with the highest number of exported semen straws this past year. He was also the highest selling Jersey sire domestically this financial year. “It is nice to know that people around the world will be using this bull and hopefully he delivers great animals that have longevity and improve the breed,” Paul said. “Australian Jerseys – and our black and white counterparts – haven’t always been recognised for the great animals we have here, with farmers looking overseas to add to our genetic pool.” Paul said Australian genetics were “flexible” as cows were able to milk with grass, other inputs, or a combination of both.
It’s this strong focus on cows fitting into an Australian – or specifically the Mumford’s Gippsland farming system – that drives Paul’s breeding objective. This system at Yarram is a predominantly spring calving, dryland, pasture-based dairy farm where cows are fed 1.4-1.6 tonnes of grain each – depending on the season.
With this in mind, it is no surprise that Paul believes he’s “fussy” when he says he needs everything in a cow. “I want capacity, strength, ability to milk, likeability – one that doesn’t kick – and longevity, one that makes money,” he said. “I’m pretty stringent on how I breed cows and pretty ruthless when it comes to improving my farming system. The CSCWOODSIDE cow family has survived and regenerated for me and is achieving that long-term goal of where I am taking my farm system and genetics.”
A descendant of the Cowslip family, Paul specifically chased these genetics because they had a “formidable bloodline history” and were “genetically better”. “I looked at their numbers, and this was before genomics,” he said. “Their ABV (Australian Breeding Value) numbers were performing better than their expected parent average. The proof has been in the pudding, they’ve probably done me pretty well, breeding two bulls.”
A Nuffield Scholarship in 2009, studying genomics and its application in Australia, enabled Paul to expand his theory of “crunching the numbers” and investigating cow families that deliver progeny that are better than their expected parent average. Genomics was introduced to the Australian dairy industry in about 2010 and this quantified Paul’s belief in concentrating on the numbers and improving his genetics with every generation. He continues to employ this approach to breeding and combines it with a visual appraisal of each animal.
For him, the Cowslip family offered the best of both worlds – and this is reflected in CSCWOODSIDE. “It’s a very rare trait to have strength, capacity and milk together in one animal- normally we call that beef,” Paul joked. “But it’s definitely something the Jerseys were lacking and that’s what made the Cowslips even more appealing. They had the ability to milk and visually showed strength and capacity, all in the one animal.”
CSCWOODSIDE is Gelbeado Park’s third sire that’s entered the artificial insemination market. Paul’s “humbled” by CSCWOODSIDE’S success – both in Australia and across the globe – but he’d much prefer to breed cows, any day of the week. After all, they offer much more value to his milk production business.
Nevertheless, he’s making the most of CSCWOODSIDE’S balanced proof as he strives for continual improvement. “What I like about CSCWOODSIDE is he’s the perfect bull for my herd. He’s going to deliver all the traits that I need to improve the core nucleus of my breeding herd,” he said. “He will be my primary bull because the traits he displays are exactly what I need for my herd – strength, capacity and the ability to milk.”