Angus stud manager boosts genetic pool

29 Aug, 2010 02:00 AM
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Cherylton stud cattle assistant and competition entrant Don McNab (right), Donnybrook, implements a very successful cattle embryo transfer program which led him to being nominated for the Virbac Animal Health Proud Achievers Program. He is pictured here with his brother Andrew McNab, Scott River.
Cherylton stud cattle assistant and competition entrant Don McNab (right), Donnybrook, implements a very successful cattle embryo transfer program which led him to being nominated for the Virbac Animal Health Proud Achievers Program. He is pictured here with his brother Andrew McNab, Scott River.

CHERYLTON Angus stud manager Don McNab entered the Virbac Animal Health Proud Achievers competition hoping to win the major prize and take part in an international study tour worth $12,000.

Mr McNab was involved in a beef cattle embryo transfer program which not only assisted in building up the Brookhampton Valley-based Angus stud but also continues to achieve outstanding conception rates.

Cherylton Angus got off the ground in 2008 when a combination of Eastern States-based and American cattle were used to build the stud.

"There are certainly some good cattle genetics in Australia and we don't think the genetics we import from America are necessarily better," Mr McNab said. "We're just widening the genetic pool.

"Bringing in bulls is easy enough.

"But we bring in the female genetics as a way of widening the pool and achieving the best results within the stud that we possibly can.

"In the past we have been achieving results around the 50 per cent stick rate.

"For our latest program we gave the cows full health treatments including pour-on drench, B12, VetADE and MultiMin.

"The cows were also tested and vaccinated for BVD and vaccinated with 7in1."

The treatments took place about two months before the implantation to ensure a rising plane of condition within the heifers.

For two weeks before the implant the cows were fed ad-lib oaten hay and silage and at the same time supplemented with a 1kg ration of a custom-blended pellet containing the recommended rates of ELMS AI supplement and intensive feed supplement.

"While receiving this protocol the cows were synchronised using Cue-Mate pods and then heat detected," he said.

"A total of 113 cows were programmed, 92 cows came on heat and of these 72 were deemed suitable to implant.

"We continued to feed the cows for one week after implant.

"We pregnancy tested 50 days after implant and achieved 51 pregnancies from 72 implants, equivalent to 70pc, which is an improvement of nearly 20pc on past breeding seasons."

To date the program has produced about 100 cows and there are a further 50 cows that are due to calf in January.

Mr McNab enlists AI technician Richard Hall and together they have about 80 more embryos ready for implantation in the future.

The first calves born from the 2008 program at Cherylton are currently calving with much success.

"We've had about 20 drop so far," Mr McNab said.

"It's rewarding to see and next year about 20 bulls from the program will be up for sale.

"It's about sourcing the best genetics for what we're trying to achieve which is a recognisable premium brand of beef.

"We aim for maximum production of high quality beef per hectare in a genetic package incorporating the best of the Angus breed."

When judges visit the stud in September they can expect to see some supreme Angus stock.

"We recently carried out some eye muscle and some intra-muscle fat scans and achieved some really good results," Mr McNab said.

"Hopefully if I get the chance to travel overseas I'll be able to go to the USA to check out some similar operations and learn how we can continue to grow and develop our program and brand here in WA."

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