ALEX Robinson breeds steers for Charlton Feedlot and all aspects of production are geared towards this end goal.
With his brother Sam they run 1000 Angus breeders on neighbouring properties at Woolsthorpe, alongside 7000 Coopworth ewes joined to Texel Down rams.
Despite recent lacklustre returns on the cattle side of the equation, Mr Robinson has stuck at it and worked harder to ensure the product he offers to his customer, Charlton Feedlot, is the best it can be – great genetics coupled with a management plan which prepares steers for their feedlot destination.
They use Lawsons Angus genetics in their commercial cattle herd because the breed gains a slight premium at the feedlot and provides flexibility if they need to push cows sideways.
They select low birthweight sires to achieve live calves on the ground and for fast growth, looking particularly at 400-day weight – most steers are delivered to Charlton Feedlot at 15 months of age or 460-days equivalent.
“I’m looking for those things which deliver most to my business: live calves on the ground and heavy calves on the truck.”
Bulls go out from late November, for a September calving which works in with their August lambing.
They join for a strict six week period and wean all calves at five months of age from the end of January, a week after they have been imprint fed on their mothers.
“It’s about presenting quality feed and the calves becoming familiar with the silage, the delivery machine and mum eating it.
Post-weaning calves spend a night in the yards and receive a drench, their second five-in-one and a slap of Arrest fly-repellant paint across their head.
From here they are moved into a custom-built half-hectare weaning yard with about 220 head, two rings of silage and plenty of water and shade.
Following this, they are turned out on the best feed available in mobs of about 300 head.
Most paddocks are 20-25ha and improved grass; calves are moved on at regular intervals.
Mr Robinson said they watch closely for pink-eye or shy feeders, but have found with feed imprinting and fly repellent these risks have been reduced.
“Like any livestock management system, prevention is the key, labour efficiencies can not be achieved by being reactive.”
* Extract. Full story Stock & Land, December 3.
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