Artificial insemination allows the best of the best sires to be used across the board at Ennerdale Poll Herefords.
The Western District property runs 300 stud and commercial cows plus replacement heifers, 11,000 Merino sheep and an Arabian horse stud.
Artificial breeding has allowed their genetic progress to be targeted and fast, most evidently when embryo transfer was used to establish the Poll Hereford stud.
Co-principal Kate Luckock said while flushing their elite Hereford females with Poll Hereford genetics may not have been the quickest route, it was cost effective.
“And we had a sound knowledge of the history of the females that were provided the foundation of our Poll Hereford stud,” she said.
“We place a great deal of emphasis on the depth and strength of the female herd behind any new sire that we introduce.
“In recent years we have been fortunate to have secured semen in some of Allendale’s top bulls and we have been very pleased with the results.
“We purchased a semen package in Guilford Future F81 from the Guilford stud in Tasmania. Future has made a significant contribution, not only with his sons but most especially through his females.”
Retained home-bred sires, Ennerdale Archer, Ennerdale Ambassador and Ennerdale Alliance, are used alongside AI sires including Yarrandabbie Jingle J018, Allendale Washington K5, Allendale Gambler L143, Glentrevor Wallace H427 and Koanui Techno 6179 (Imp NZL).
While increased technology and objective assessment tools have created new opportunities and challenges for breeders, Ms Luckock said the studs general breeding objectives had not altered.
“We are not influenced by fads, fashion or extremes, but prefer a balanced approach to breeding livestock,” she said.
“Improvement and corrections can then be made without making significant sacrifices in other areas. With each mating, we aim to make improvement across the board without focusing on a singular trait.
“Visual assessment is used first and then Breedplan figures are taken into consideration.”
The aim at Ennerdale is to keep all operations as simple as possible with minimal machinery, and the livestock must be easy care with low maintenance requirements.
“We breed for structure, performance, temperament and constitution in a commercially focused and competitive operation with predictable, low maintenance cattle… with minimal contract labour,” Ms Luckock said.
“Time constraints do not warrant high maintenance individuals. We strive to produce progressive, practical, predictable animals with reliable performance for the commercial cattleman.”
Ennerdale will hold it’s 49th Annual Bull Sale this year, and an autumn and spring calving means they offer sires from 15 to 23 months of age.
“Purchasers believe it to be to their advantage also, as they feel they can potentially get an extra years use from the bull if they manage the bull carefully,” she said.
The Luckock family will have been breeding whiteface cattle for 80 years this year, and Ms Luckock said the breed’s temperament, constitution, fertility and easy care meant they were dedicated to the Poll Hereford.
Opening to visitors on day eight of this year’s Stock & Land Beef Week, Ms Luckock said the concept gave people an opportunity to visit studs in a relaxed environment.
“Studs have more time to discuss their operation and breeding program in depth with interested people. Beef Week is well timed prior to the commencement of the bull selling season.”