Efficiency: the main goal

Efficiency: the main goal


Stock and Land Beef
Gabriella Tonini, 19, with her father Ferruccio at the Glenrowan farm.

Gabriella Tonini, 19, with her father Ferruccio at the Glenrowan farm.

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FERRUCCIO Tonini of Glenpoll Poll Hereford Stud, Glenrowan, follows one strict breeding motto: keep things efficient.

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FERRUCCIO Tonini of Glenpoll Poll Hereford Stud, Glenrowan, follows one strict breeding motto: keep things efficient.

The Tonini family's 26 year-old stud has developed their Poll Herefords frame score by offloading non-productive animals and encouraging a "natural evolution" of their herd.

"Breeding is about efficiency and getting the most from the capital you've got," Mr Tonini said.

The frame score of his cattle has graduated from three to a consistent 5-6.

Mr Tonini selects the cattle that consistently produce to an optimum level in normal and challenging conditions.

He said by maintaining productive cows that boast fertility, leading weight gains and structural soundness, the herd can breed optimally with minimal human intervention.

"At the end of the day it is the commercial output that makes you money and the herd has proven to be productive and viable," Mr Tonini said.

He established the stud in 1988 after consistently receiving top-dollar for his crossbred vealers sired by a Poll Hereford bull, and has grown the stud from a handful of cattle to 100 breeding cows and 30 heifers.

Annually, Mr Tonini turns over 20 of the older cows to bring in the most productive young heifers, which he calls "the selective succession plan" of the stud.

"It maintains a fresh and healthy herd and allows the genetic progress to continue within the stud," he said.

Another breeding goal for the family was to breed cattle with a good temperament, which he said was to prompt his family into helping him more often.

His breeding direction was rewarded during Beef Week 2012 when Mr Tonini was highly commended for his heifers during the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria Heifer Challenge.

Up against another 60 studs, Mr Tonini said that the certificate affirmed his pursuit for efficiency in his cattle that was not at the expense of the animals' aesthetic and structural presentation.

While Glenpoll sources bulls every two years to inject new genetics into the breeding herd, Mr Tonini also used self-bred bulls selected on the "efficient breeding criteria".

"They have to be structurally correct and have the right temperament and eye pigmentation -- it all goes back to selecting for efficiency."

Estimated breeding values are used as a selection tool with 20 per cent of the decision based on data with 80 per cent visual selection.

This year good beef prices have encouraged Mr Tonini to also focus on supporting a steer fattening program, while still breeding his stud cattle.

"What I enjoy most is seeing a really nice calf born. It seems like it comes from nothing and it is just magic. It's a nice feeling," he said.

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