Breeding philosophy by James Lord
After I left school in 1973 I got exposed to a way of running cattle by Richard and Flora Keats Bow Park Julia Creek. He talked to me about Tom Lasseters who run Lasseters ranch in America. Tom ran a herd of cows in America that were selected on objective measurements. This was a new innovative and interesting way of running cattle.
Alf Collins visited May Downs in 1989 and we pregnancy tested our first lot of cows with him. At this stage the cow herd was running at aprox 58% calving on a 12 month cycle. This was the first time that I identified a 12 month calving cycle in a herd. After identifying this we have consistently been pregnancy testing the herd identifying quite and fertile cattle. Our aim is to achieve a 12 month wet rebreed rate above 75%.This is the single biggest influence we can have on the profitability of our properties.
We have been increased the wet rebreed rate as high as 78 to 82% in some herds.
We have been working on lifting the rebreed rates and time of calving on the herd.
Originally we selected bulls from Richard & Flora Keats Herd, Bob & Mrs Lord.
In 1992 we bought four bulls of Alf Collins ‘ Bellah Valley’ These bulls were selected on puberty thresholds and days to calving of their mothers. Since 1994 we have only purchased bulls out of herds that have been selected on the same criteria of our management practices.
We continually purchased bulls from Belah valley for 18 years.
Lately we have branched out and bought composite Angus Bulls. These bulls have come from herds that have the same management practices and criteria as our own herd.
We still select bulls for puberty threshold temperament and days to calving.
We join all the heifers at 18 to 24 months of age and we select the heifers that will deliver us a calf before 31/12/ of the following year. We sell any heifers that do not meet this criteria which means that this natural selection criteria gives us the most hardy and fertile cattle.
This gives us form to function and the cattle that are left in our herd are the ones most adapted to our environment under our management practices.
Marketing of Steers.
We draft our steers into 60 kg increments / variations in weight range
- 320 – 380 kg
- 380 – 440 kg
- 440+ kg
We mouth all the steers and sell them accordingly. Mouthing means identifying the number of permanent teeth to gauge the animals age.
We sell breeders that fall out of the block two calving pattern. These cattle are very good breeders they just fall out of our strict management practices.
We use to identify all the wet cows on the first round with a year brand since the drought in 2008 we have stopped this practice. We are starting to use the NILS electronic identification device system, to identify these cows.
The aim is to have all the cows on the data base by the end of 2012.