The use of modern tools such as artificial insemination and embryo transfer has meant Chris and Marilyn Meade have been able to accelerate genetic gains in their Pelican Rise Limousin stud herd.
The Meades started the stud just 12 years ago, aiming to complement their commercial operation at Colac.
Mr Meade hails from a dairy background but is clearly relishing an opportunity to put his best beef breeding skills to the test in a stud herd.
"As with anything, you make mistakes along the way and you don't always get the breeding right the first time but things like AI and embryo work have really helped us fast track our breeding goals," he said.
"Most of our bulls are going into commercial operations - typically F1s and crossbreeding programs.
"We have a really strong focus on docility, fertility and 200 and 400-day growth.
"Also all our animals are now homo or hetero polled which is something we have been striving hard towards."
The Meades aim to offer about 20 bulls for sale each year, usually during their Stock & Land Beef Week open day in February.
They are also planning to start on-property auctions and are considering an invitational sale with other like-minded studs in 2023.
The Meades have traditionally joined in late May/early June for an autumn calving but thanks to growing demand from markets aligned to spring calving, mainly from buyers in Gippsland, they've started a spring calving as well.
They AI twice a year, leaving the bulls in for about 36 days after AI to cover the cows with a natural joining.
"It's a pretty short run to keep a tight rein on our fertility," Mr Meade said.
"We pregnancy test twice a year with our main one in September, followed by weaning in early December."
Bringing a lot of Canadian and American genetics into the herd, either via embryos or semen, for their AI program has enabled the Meades to fully diversify their genetic pool.
"We are definitely chasing that diversity but we are also looking to add a bit of softness and fat into the animal along with that fast, early growth and homo pollness," he said.
Bulls of influence in the herd, according to Mr Meade, have included the herd bull, Shalone Westwood.
"He's had a big impact," he said.
"He has a really great temperament, great growth and structure.
"The American and Canadian bulls, Wulfs Amazing Bull, Hunt Credentials and B Bar Granite, have also had a big impact on our 2020-drop calves."
This year's offering will also include some Black Limousin bulls by Shalone Westwood, BJF Zane Wally and LFLC Denver out of black Pelican Rise cows.
"We also have some calves by BJF Zane Wally - he is an Australian-bred bull who traces back to Canadian genetics," he said.
"He brings a lot to the program - improving birth weight and calving ease and also adding a bit more fat and softness into the calves."
This year, about 18 cows will be used in the ET program with about half to calve in autumn and half in spring.
The offering will include fully-imported embryos by TMF Westwood in autumn, plus spring embryo calves by a new sire - B-Bar Carharrt and out of Pelican Rise cows, along with some calves from Goldstein Park Rockstar.
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