GLENBURN-based Webb Black Simmentals have radically shifted their breeding aims with a bold goal to become an elite Simmental stud that repeatedly tops the State's iconic weaner sales.
The breeding overhaul includes the establishment of a commercial herd that will be used to benchmark the stud's genetics against the State's top commercial producers at feature store sales.
The changes are being spearheaded by new manager and former Tasmanian-based seedstock producer Ben Coad, wife Cindy and stud owner Philip Webb.
The stud shake-up includes the introduction of Canadian and United States genetics, the selection of 120 elite breeding females and the establishment of a commercial herd.
"Our aim is to become commercially orientated, accepted as a key producer in the stud stock industry and have the best, elite Black Simmentals in the country," stud advisor Duncan Newcomen said.
The catalyst for change was the stud's popularity in Queensland, which Mr Newcomen said they hoped to expand to Victorian and southern NSW producers through a new commercial focus.
"We have sourced genetics from Canada and US that are suitable for southern Australian conditions," he said.
"We are targeting bulls that will put the right amount of fat on cross-bred calves and can meet that 60-day feeder industry for Woolworths and Coles."
The first step on this ambitious journey was the rigorous selection of 120 females.
Cows were assessed individually in August, 2014 and selected on structure, udder development and temperament.
"The quality of the entire cow herd was already very high so that is why we were able to be hard on selecting the elite females," Cindy said.
"We went back through the progeny history searching for quality cows and looking at their estimated breeding values, 200-400 day weights, calving ease and birth weights, which were all important."
Grass-fed bulls were scanned at 15 months of age for eye muscle area, fat cover and weight gains as part of their commercial criteria to meet the local feeder market.
"It was important to scan the bulls straight off grass so that they could identify sires that were genetically superior for fat cover," Cindy said.
"When those bulls go out over the Angus cows we need to make sure that as well as putting that extra 20-30kg of weight on them, they also have the fat cover the butchers are looking for.
"We've got the cattle here and the females here to excel in the industry but we need to get it out there to show we can do it in a commercial operation."
Also part of their benchmarking plans is to enter cattle in major show and carcase competitions which Ben said would show they were prepared to be up against the best.
"We plan to enter them as grass-fed and grain-fed to prove the direction," he said.
"The stud and top end has to be the best, everything else will flow back into the commercial operation that will want to compare against the industry.
"You need two years to change the direction and five years to shift genetics; we've got the foundation but we are just changing the direction by focusing on different areas."
Webb Blacks Simmentals will have bulls and females by TNT Tanker, a Simmental bull renowned for producing extreme muscle, depth of rib and powerful construction progeny, when they open their gates on day five of Beef Week.