The driving force behind the success of Te Mania Angus in Australia, Andrew Gubbins has been unwavering in his support of performance recording and new technologies to fast track the breed's genetic progress.
"By keeping an open mind and utilising performance data, we have been able to achieve change that sometimes went against conventional thinking," he said.
"Te Mania Knight K206 was an example of this. He was a low birth weight and early gestation sire which proved a correlation between birthweight and gestation length. This finding went on to be a powerful tool in our joining program."
Growing up at Birregurra, Vic, Mr Gubbins was employed as a jackaroo at FS Falkiner's Boonooke Merino stud, Deniliquin, NSW, before heading to the Kimberley region of WA as a ringer on Fossil Downs.
He then went on to study a diploma in agriculture at Lincoln College in New Zealand, where he met his future wife, Mary Wilding, who had grown up at Te Mania in North Canterbury, NZ.
After purchasing the property Pardoo, near Colac, Vic, in 1960, Mr Gubbins married Mary and so began the family's long journey of major contributions to the Angus breed.
The couple launched their seedstock enterprise in 1971, importing 56 females and two bulls from Te Mania, NZ, to form the nucleus herd of Te Mania Angus in Australia.
Te Mania held its first on-farm bull sale in 1980, selling 43 bulls for an average of $3454 and an impressive top price of $19,000. Objective measurement details including live weight, serving capacity and testicle size were provided on the bulls.
1980 also marked the start of Te Mania's first large-scale on-farm embryo transfer program, which has been used each year since then to speed the rate of genetic gain.
"We also introduced independent structural grading systems to assess all young bulls and heifers, focusing on feet, legs, teats and temperament," he said.
In 1983, the Gubbins family imported VPI Lord Patriot from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute in the United States, the first shipment of cattle to come into Australia through the Cocos Island quarantine station. VPI Lord Patriot was a trait leader and would become one of Te Mania's most successful sires.
One of Mr Gubbins' most forward thinking innovations was the establishment of the Team Te Mania progeny test program in 1995.
Today, the breeding and marketing alliance incorporates 43 herds and more than 20,000 cows across Qld, NSW, Vic, and SA.
Mr Gubbins has been involved at a state and national level with the Angus Society of Australia, as a councillor for eight years, chairman of its Technical Committee and on the 1997 World Forum Committee.
He has received many industry awards, including the prestigious Howard Yelland Beef Industry Award in 2008 and in 2013 he was awarded Life Membership of Angus Australia.
Mr Gubbins is proud the Te Mania stud remains a family affair with son Tom and his wife Lucy and daughter Amanda and her husband Hamish McFarlane, now at the helm.
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