STUD CATTLE BREEDING has become increasingly competitive with large numbers of seedstock producers all competing for their share of a shrinking cow herd.
But South East stud and commercial breeders, Kevin and Lyn, Simon and Annie Johnson of Kevlyn Downs Beef believe “changing with the times” they have found a way to cement their future in the industry.
They are adamant of the need to breed high quality bulls specifically tailored for their clients’ needs rather than simply hoping buyers will drive through their gate.
Thus about eight years ago they began incorporating Shorthorn composites into the seedstock program on their Willalooka property, and have formed contract bull breeding arrangements.
It was definitely a good move and over the past few years they have sold out of bulls and seen a significant increase in demand.
Their 300 head stud and commercial cow herd now comprises about 80 Shorthorn stud cows, 80 Shorthorn Performance Recorded cows, 70 Red Angus-Shorthorns and 70 females used as recipients for embryo transfer programs.
It all began back in 1999 when the long time Shorthorn breeders were approached by a number of their clients to produce Red Angus-Shorthorn bulls.
Kevin says they were looking for “consistent red colour” to produce uniform lines of cattle, and in the early days calving ease was a consideration.
It was a serious commitment and they employed respected adviser Dick Whale from Independent Breeding & Marketing Services to oversee the program and source the Red Angus foundation sires.
These AI sires were two United States bulls from the Leachman stud, Grand Canyon and None Better.
Kevin says they also invested some of their elite Shorthorn stud females in the cross breeding program selecting cows with negative gestation length, below or average birth weight and above average eye muscle area key criteria.
“Anyone can crossbreed but to be successful in cross breeding seedstock producers need to get the best of both breeds and the traits compatible to take them to the next level,” he said.
“We are not just throwing bulls at cows- it is highly structured to give clients predictable, profitable results.”
*Extract from on-farm to appear in Stock & Land, January 29.
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