DAVID Anderson is unflinching in his belief fertile, productive and good-milking cows are the key to a good herd.
As such, bulls secured through the Hereford National at Wodonga have always been selected for their above average milking, together with 600-day growth weight and an average birthweight.
Each year he makes the trek to the event from his Glenside property at Ghin Ghin on the outskirts of Yea, last year securing Mawarra Top Trade at $11,000, a price he admitted was “too much for a heifer bull”.
But with a shrug of his shoulders he explained Top Trade, picked specifically to join to heifers, had a lowish birthweight, but good figures to go with it and marked a change in direction for his commercial operation, ran over two of the three properties which comprise the Greenhills Herefords operation, Glenside, Greenhills and Snodgrass.
“I’d always buy heifer bulls that would just do the job, be low birthweight and produce a calf and think nothing of that.”
All calves out of heifers would then be sold, with cow progeny kept to replenish the herd and build it up to its current base of 180 head.
This time round, however, Mr Anderson decided by injecting better genetics into first calvers there was no reason why heifer calves could not be retained.
His decision was rewarded with his best heifers in both 2008 and 2007 out of first-time calvers – the 2008 calves hit the scales at 396 kilograms at weaning in December aged nine months.
Previous purchases at the Hereford National have included Glendan Park Argyle, Bowmont High Energy and Cowboy Red Hot.
Mr Anderson’s staunch focus on top genetics is evident in his herd.
He has achieved a self-replacing, highly fertile group of breeders and the bonus for his efforts has been producing top male weaner stock – “the cream at the top”.
Each year after weaning, steers first and heifers three-to-four weeks later at nine months, Mr Anderson will scan through the young herd and ask himself ‘are they better’?
An important component in the improvement of the herd has been weaning the steer portion pre-sale, Mr Anderson said.
*Extract from on-farm to appear in Stock & Land, April 30.
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