Close eye on the herd

Close eye on the herd


Stock and Land Beef
David Jenkin on his Penshurst farm.

David Jenkin on his Penshurst farm.

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BREEDING better sires comes down to the stud's focus on performance recording, according to Banemore Herefords principal David Jenkin.

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BREEDING better sires comes down to the stud's focus on performance recording, according to Banemore Herefords principal David Jenkin.

One of the pioneers in using estimated breeding values (EBVs) in the Hereford seedstock industry, Mr Jenkin believes utilising EBVs and even genomics would be critical in maintaining Herefords' market share in the beef game.

"We use Breedplan as a tool to help us remain focused," he said.

"We have steadily reduced our birthweights, while increasing our indexing, calving ease and meat quality as far as improving the intramuscular fat which isn't easy in the Hereford breed, but we are really seeing results now.

"I've remained focused on my breeding aims and like anything else, you don't waiver or shift your goal posts."

Since 2008, Banemore's average birthweight has reduced from four kilograms to av 2.8kg across the herd last year, well below the current breed average of 4.5kg.

The stud's av eye muscle area has also seen remarkable improvements whereby in 2008 it averaged three square centimetres to today where it is at 4.5cm2, above the breed av of 2.6cm2.

The stud is a direct offshoot of the well-known Nayook stud, Mount Gambier, South Australia which split in 1981 and David and Judi Jenkin purchased two thirds of the stud herd.

The stud grew slowly until 1964 when it was severely culled from 70 to 40 breeders for poor milkers and shy breeders.

This formed the foundation herd which has been undergoing performance recording since 1965 in liaison with Ron McNeil of South Australia's Department of Agriculture.

The Jenkins' commitment to performance recording is evident being one of only seven studs qualifying for Breedplan's five star Completeness of Performance.

The title is based on the quantity and quality of performance information recorded with Breedplan.

Banemore Herefords is one of the last remaining studs that validated the original Breedplan in the early 1980s which Mr Jenkin said had been the foundation of great genetic progress within the stud's herd as well as the wider Australian beef industry.

"The most recent data shows huge improvement with intramuscular fat and eye muscle area, well above the breed average, which is what we have to do in the Herefords to keep holding market share," he said.

Mr Jenkin said the breed needed to use indexing as a benchmark to progress the national herd.

"We've seen the LambPlan index go ahead in leaps and bounds, however there is a lot of acceptance in the Hereford world, there is still some scepticism," he said.

"But it has proven research and was a wonderful opportunity to improve the breed -- the technology is there and you can't ignore it.

"It gives you something to strive for."

He said the stud's unwavering commitment to data collection had been rewarded.

Mr Jenkin said the stud had worked closely with several leading commercial Hereford producers in southern Australia which has contributed to evolving the operation's genetics.

"The benefit of Breedplan is huge – that is why it is so important, you need to know the genetic merit of the animal and not just a visual assessment," he said.

"Buyers are demanding it now so seedstock producers need to be aware and educate the buyers who know what they want."

Banemore Herefords have also been advocates of artificial insemination, which Mr Jenkin said enabled genetic manipulation by selection using top bulls for specific attributes.

This year, Mr Jenkin said the stud was pleased to offer high growth carcase bulls at their annual on property sale on March 13 including bulls by Allendale Waterhouse, Wirruna Daffy and progeny of specialty heifer sire Wirruna Echuca.

The stud will welcome visits to the Penshurst property on Tuesday, February 3 -- Day 8 of Beef Week.

On display will be Banemore's annual on property sale bulls.

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