Focus on breeding better heifers

21 Jan, 2018 04:00 AM
Looking over the heifers on offer at last week's Landmark Unjoined heifer sale at Boyanup were two of the newest recruits to join the Landmark team Lauren Patane and Brayden Hannagan, from the Bunbury branch.
Looking over the heifers on offer at last week's Landmark Unjoined heifer sale at Boyanup were two of the newest recruits to join the Landmark team Lauren Patane and Brayden Hannagan, from the Bunbury branch.

SELECTING high genetic merit bulls is a key way to inject superior genetics into a beef business, however producers should also consider the critical role played by retained heifers according to Bred Well Fed Well Beef program deliverer Jason Trompf.

“Producers should be aiming to increase productivity, profitability and rate of genetic gain of their breeders,” Jason said.

“The higher percentage of heifer calves retained, the quicker producers can accelerate genetic gain.

“If your seedstock producer is making measured genetic gain in the traits you want and you’re selecting the right bulls for your herd, a younger herd shortens the generation interval and allows more gene turnover.

“Visually classing out a high number of heifers puts the handbrake on genetic improvement.

“This strategy keeps more new, improved genetics in the herd and enables the removal of old and late-calving cows.”

Jason said a cow which calved later in the calving window (week eight or nine), throughout her life compared to one that calves in week one or two, would produce almost the equivalent of two fewer calves (based on calf weight), which at today’s prices is close to $2000 less income.

To make heifer retention work the aim for producers should be to establish tighter calving spans (a six-week joining is recommended) to produce an even drop of heifers and proactively manage heifers to meet critical mating weights, drive pregnancy rates and minimise dystocia.

The new Bred Well Fed Well Beef program, supported by MLA, will help producers achieve this by providing them with practical steps to select, breed and manage a profitable and productive herd.

The one-day workshops take a whole-of-enterprise approach, giving beef producers a personalised guide so they can target their specific breeding objectives.

Producers will walk away from the workshop equipped with tools to better inform bull buying decisions, such as prioritised traits for selection and target levels of performance based on estimated breeding values (EBVs) to meet their specific production goals.

There is a fee of $75/person with a minimum of 15 people required.

Breeding better heifers and cows is just one part of Bred Well Fed Well Beef, so to find out more or register your interest in attending or hosting a workshop, contact Serina Hancock on 0403 570 823 or

$8750 top for first sale

THE bull selling season kicked off this week on Tuesday with the first sale of the year, the Landmark Great Southern Blue Ribbon Female and All Breeds Bull Sale at Mt Barker.

Prices hit a high of $8750 for a Charolais bull from the Quicksilver stud, Newdegate, when it was purchased by BJ Panizza Family Trust, Albany.

All up in the sale, 62 bulls were offered and 45 sold for an average of $5267.

In the female section of the sale prices were solid like previous breeder sales this season, with the 778 breeders sold averaging $1786.

The top price in the females was $3000 paid for a line of 18-20-month-old Angus heifers offered by Shepwok Downs, Gibson and purchased by Arizona Farms, Lake Grace.

A full report on the sale will be in next week’s Farm Weekly.

Sneak peak at field days

TALKING bulls, there are a couple of circuit bull field days coming up with one in the south of the State and one in the north where producers will be able to get a look at sale teams before sale day.

The first of these field days will be in Esperance on Thursday, February 1 and will feature the Naranda, Allegria Park and Kogody Angus studs.

The Naranda stud will be open from 9.30-11am, followed by Allegria Park from 12 noon to 1.30pm and then the Kogody stud between 2.30-4pm.

In the north it is the Biara Santa Gertrudis stud, Northampton, Kapari Angus stud, Northampton and the Tara Limousin and Angus studs, Allanooka, which will open their gates.

The three studs have combined to host a field day on Friday, February with all studs open from 10am to 5pm.

For full details on both field days refer to the respective advertisements in this week’s Farm Weekly on pages 84 and 88.

New genetics at Mount Ronan

PRIME lamb producers looking for new prime lamb genetics should be heading to the Mount Ronan On-property Summer Ram Sale at York.

In the sale on Tuesday, January 30, the stud will offer its new genetics with 70 rams lambs catalogued to go under the hammer.

The offering will be made up of 35 Maternal rams and 35 White Suffolk rams which were all dropped in 2017.

For more information on the sale contact Mount Ronan principal Guy Bowen on 9641 1483 or email



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