Gandy Angus stud owners Kim and Lex Gandy recently hosted producers at a well-attended Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) BredWell FedWell workshop at their Manjimup property on October 17.
The full-day, practical workshop demonstrated to attending producers how profitability and productivity can be improved through breeding and feeding strategies.
Trained and approved BredWell FedWell deliverer and Angus Australia extension manager, Jake Phillips, helped producers develop individualised breeding plans based on their own profit drivers and enterprises.
Producers received hands-on training about how to identify the correct sires and animals for their breeding goals.
They also had the chance to map the optimal nutritional requirements for their stock to achieve their objectives and maximise their genetic investment.
Gandy Angus stud co-principal Lex Gandy said it was great to host the workshop at their stud.
"It was great to have other producers come to our farm and be able to mix and meet new producers and producers we have met before, as well as bring together MLA and Angus Australia," Ms Gandy said.
"Another great part of the day was that it was interactive.
"We went down to the yards throughout the day to view some animals that had Estimated Breeding Values (EBV) and some that didn't, which really informed us on what we were learning in the classroom part of the workshop."
Ms Gandy said participants appraised four Gandy Angus bulls, each with their own EBVs.
"Each bull had different types of figures, such as calving ease, birthweight and growth rates, and they were ranked by the attendees without knowing what the bulls EBVs were," she said.
"We then discussed why each person picked what bull, based on what they were looking for, for their own breeding herds."
Ms Gandy said the producers returned to the yards, looked over the bulls' EBVs and ranked them a second time based on those figures and what was learnt in the workshop session.
"It was a successful day and the feedback was great and very informative, especially for any new breeders to make sure you are heading in the direction you want to head in, taking into account what makes sense for each producer's farms, what feed they have and their goals," Ms Gandy said.
"The benefit of attending the workshop is a personalised approach where attendees leave with a bespoke breeding and feeding regime tailored to their farming environment and markets, which are designed to boost their on-farm profitability."
Producer Spencer Knight, Kirup, has participated in the workshop and found it to be money well-spent.
"If you're sitting on the fence about going to a BredWell FedWell workshop, register now," Mr Knight said.
"I attended a recent workshop and it was great value for money.
"There is plenty of gold to take away from the day no matter your level of knowledge."
After more than a decade of success, the workshop was recently redeveloped by Schuster Consulting Group to include current genetics and nutrition management practices and a more interactive structure.
Peter Schuster, who manages the program on behalf of MLA, said the process involved reviewing its key messages and consulting with participants to identify what they liked and what was working well.
"We also considered new genetics and nutrition research outcomes and then restructured the program around a breeding and feeding production cycle that addresses information critical to different decision points in that cycle," Mr Schuster said.
"We want it to be interactive and hands-on, we cap the number of participants in each workshop."
The Gandy Angus workshop was designed for southern beef production systems, however there are also workshops available for northern beef producers, with a slightly different focus and set of recommendations for cattle management.
There is also a workshop designed for sheep producers.
"The workshops have to be on-farm, because we need the element of using live animals to demonstrate assessment and selection approaches that producers can adopt in their own breeding programs," Mr Schuster said.
"Host properties, such as Gandy Angus, are crucial to the success of the workshops and we're keen to hear from other producers using Breedplan EBVs or Australian Sheep Breeding Values (ASBVs) who would be interested in hosting a workshop."
Mr Schuster said that their team of experienced and approved deliverers have specific knowledge of the region where they deliver each workshop, as was the case for Angus Australia's Jake Phillips, who ran the Gandy Angus workshop.
Mr Phillips emphasised the importance of ensuring the livestock presented on the day helped to tell the story of BredWell FedWell and said, that on behalf of Angus Australia, they were proud to be able to deliver the workshops to commercial producers across Australia.
"We think it's a great opportunity for those producers to put together a lot of the key profit drivers about breeding cattle better and feeding cattle better," Mr Phillips said.
"Over the course of the day it was great to be able to work through building feed supply and demand charts with the producers who came to the event and aligning those charts with the animals themselves to increase reproduction and beef production."
Mr Phillips said it was a great program.
"It's holistic and does challenge each of the attendees' calving and mating systems to make them more aligned with something that might increase their conception and weaning rates or market suitability," he said.
Mr Phillips said the Gandys had done a fantastic job as hosts and presented some excellent cattle to use in the workshop activities.
"The feedback we received was excellent and producers were very satisfied with the workshop and said they would recommend it to other growers," he said.
"We appreciate having access to host sites and thank Kim and Lex for their efforts in making the day a success."
The workshop achieved unprecedented reviews from attendees, with it rating nine out of 10 each for satisfaction and value and 100 per cent indicating they'd recommend it to others.
The timing and location of BredWell FedWell workshops are led by producer demand and host availability.
To attend or host a workshop in southern or northern WA, register your interest at mla.com.au/bredwellfedwell
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