LAST year, Gippsland's Warringa Herefords secured some leading Poll Hereford genetics to boost its poll breeding program and give its growing client base the choice to buy horned or polled sires.
Yarram-based Warringa purchased its first Poll Hereford bull Days Director H202 in partnership with Karoonda Herefords last May.
Director won grand champion Poll Hereford bull at the Hereford National Show and Sale in Wodonga thanks to his outstanding structure, carcase quality and power.
His homozygous polled status, together with his physical presence and estimated breeding values of low birth weight, average milk, excellent growth and great scrotal circumference made the young sire an exciting addition to Warringa's breeding program, stud principals Bill and Minnie Kee said.
Director's introduction to the stud builds on the polled program that started in 2010, when the Kees artificially inseminated (AI'd) selected heifers to Allendale National W168.
In 2012, the Kees purchased the Australian semen and marketing rights for Canadian homozygous polled sire BBSF 101N Wrangler 29W, whose progeny not only stood out to the couple during the World Hereford Conference, but have also topped significant shows and sales in Canada.
Last November, Warringa also bought two cow and calf units and a rising two-year-old heifer at the Cannawigra Poll Hereford female dispersal sale in Lucindale, South Australia.
"It was a great opportunity to buy Polled Herefords with confidence," Mr Kee said.
These outcross genetics build on the stud's carefully chosen Widgiewa, St. Gabriel's, South Boorook, Racovolis, Courallie, Bowmont and Ironbark bloodlines.
Warringa Herefords has in turn strengthened its clients' confidence by becoming one of only seven Hereford herds in Australia with a Gold 5-star rating under the Breedplan Completeness of Performance herd rating system.
The Gold 5 star rating recognises Warringa Herefords belief in and commitment to accurately recording Breedplan performance data for all animals across all traits for which EBVs are available
"I'm a bit of a figures man, but the animal's phenotype has to match up to its genotype," Mr Kee said.
"We've been to two World Hereford Conferences and we've found across the world, people want information so they are assured in their decisions."
The Kees are also excited by a black baldy trial happening at a large commercial Angus operation in Tasmania, which will assess the crossbreds' performance compared to purebred cattle.
Such trials in North America and Canada have found a $30 "whiteface advantage" for extra weight as well as fertility and temperament improvements, and if similar results were found in Australia they could create an even greater market for Hereford cattle, Mr Kee said.
The Kees are proud of the growing recognition of Warringa with Hereford studs, including Yavenvale of Adelong NSW, Jindalee of Inverell NSW, Mundook of Bairnsdale, Nunniong of Ensay, Glendan Park of Kyneton, Lotus of Pinkett NSW and Sanbah of Yanakie – as well as commercial operators buying their bulls in recent years.
Herefords' docility and doing-ability across seasonal conditions first attracted the Kees to breed Herefords.
In the stud's 15th year, the Kees continue to value these strengths and breed for maternal traits, high eye muscle area and positive fat.
The couple are decisive with their artificial insemination program – heifers have to calf as two-year-olds and raise a calf if they are to remain in the breeding program, which allows them to advance the introduction of new genetics, Mr Kee said.