JOHN Leek is thrilled his family's Mt Ararat Simmental stud at Nar Nar Goon, Gippsland, will host its first on-farm Beef Week field day this year.
Mt Ararat has been part of multi-stud exhibitions before, and the decision to hold its own event reflected the stud's expansion and the cattle's high quality, Mr Leek said.
Mr Leek will have stud bulls and heifers as well as commercial cows and calves on display and for sale.
He ran commercial Simmental cattle beside his horse breeding and training and plumbing businesses for many years.
One day, he and wife Andrea's son Mitchell (now 14) brought a calf from the paddock to the house and said he wanted to take it to the Pakenham Show.
"I told him it needed to be registered to be entered into the show so he asked if I could get him a registered animal," Mr Leek said.
"It got me thinking and I saw a future in breeding quality animals.
"The more I looked into it, the more excited I got."
When the father and son team started Mt Ararat Simmental stud six years ago, Mr Leek said he was lucky the first phone call he made was to Tom Baker, Woonallee Simmentals, near Millicent, South Australia.
"In the past five years we have bought the top-priced heifer at Woonallee Simmentals' sale, ranging from $10,000 to $16,000," Mr Leek said.
He has also purchased cattle from other leading Australian Simmental studs, including Waterfront Simmentals, Naracoorte, SA, as well getting genetic material from renowned American stud Buzzard Hollow Ranch.
To grow the herd to about 50 registered females and bulls in six years, the Leek family has flushed eggs from the top heifers and performed embryo transfers.
"It's expensive, but a great way to get a herd of great animals quickly," he said.
The Leeks are very selective and "everything has to be right" for cattle to continue in the herd, including low birthweight, conformation, good feet and legs, and carcase traits of muscling and marbling.
"Simmentals are very versatile cattle," he said.
"They are full of meat as everyone knows, but they are also full of milk, which means they produce top vealer calves and calves that weigh 400-450 kilograms plus at weaning that can make a lot of money at nine months of age."
Mr Leek said other Simmental studs had bought three of his bulls in recent months.
He also sells bulls to commercial producers.
Mr Leek was also confident of Mt Ararat's show performance and was banking on a bull calf with an impressive pedigree and form to lead the charge.
Woonallee Rosy G28 (P), a daughter of the 2011 Adelaide grand champion female, has a polled bull calf at-foot (CAF) by West Australian bull Willandra Gomez.
The Leeks have called the calf Mt Ararat Kilimanjaro (P) and expect it to be in the stud's breeding program "for a long time", according to Mr Leek.