ABS Field Day and Seminar

Angus breeders inspect cutting edge genetics

Australia’s leading Angus breeders analysed the data and eyeballed the calf drop of the latest genetics out of the US and Australia this week in order to steer the future direction of the breed.

About 130 breeders from 60 of Australia’s top line Angus studs converged on Murdeduke Angus, Winchelsea, on Monday to inspect progeny by the powerhouse sires out of the ABS Global battery.

Murdeduke genetics manager Simon Falkiner said the stud was honoured to showcase elite genetics for the world’s premier semen supplier.

On show were large runs of pregnancy-tested-in-calf heifers and 2014-drop mixed sex weaners demonstrating the attributes of super sires such as KM Broken Bow 002, Te Mania Emperor E343, Rennylea Edmund E11 and Milwillah Gatsby.

Stud breeders were able to digest pedigree and performance data, and establish a pecking order for the industry’s hottest sires.

The field day was organized by ABS Australia and Zoetis, with guest speaker being ABS Global’s US beef sire acquisition manager Ben Lohmann.

Mr Lohmann outlined the latest calving ease and carcass specialist bulls on offer from the heart of the US program. He is touring Australia and New Zealand to inspect cow herds, sire groups and young potential AI sires.

Mr Lohmann, along with the Australian stud breeders, was impressed with the Australian progeny of Broken Bow, a US sire ranking in the top 10 per cent for calving ease and total profit.

Field day visitors voted the stand out sire groups as Te Mania Emperor and Broken Bow.

The top rated heifer was a Broken Bow out of an Ada daughter, followed by an Emperor heifer out of a Tiger daughter.

Simon Falkiner said progeny of Ardrossan Equator A241, Rennylea Edmund E11 and Docklands were also well supported by the Australian stud breeders.

He said Murdeduke was well placed to offer large drafts of the preferred sire groups over the next two years.

Ben Lohmann said Australian breeders were one of the biggest users of US Angus genetics outside of North America.

“This is an awesome opportunity to compare and contrast bulls used in the US with what is happening in Australia,’’ he said.

“There has been a keen interest in what we are bringing in and (Australia stud breeders) are studying the bulls to see what can fit in programs over here.’’

Mr Lohmann said the most progressive Australian genetics were in turn being evaluated to see how they might fit US markets.

He said Australians were looking for outcross genetics with growth, performance and carcass..

“Fundamentally the two things growing quickly in the US are calving ease and docility,’’ he said.

“We refer to those as convenience traits but they are reality, because the average age of the commercial producer in the US is getting older and they want fault free cattle which take care of themselves.’’

Mr Lohmann said historically high cattle prices had translated into commercial producers paying US$7000-$10,000 for bulls.

“Almost 80 per cent of the market is for calving ease on virgin heifers, and that goes through my mind when looking for bulls,’’ he said.

Mr Lohmann described the Broken Bow US progeny as “good topped, big ribbed, middle to moderate framed cattle’’.

He said Broken Bow had softened in terms of growth but improved on calving ease and birth weight.

“This bull ranks in the top 10 per cent for total profit and calving ease, and rings a bell for females to be kept back in commercial herds,’’ he said.

Victorian commercial producer Brad Gilmour runs a 1000 cow Angus herd at Terang and was interested in the proven and new sires for use in his artificial insemination program this season.

Mr Gilmour selects sires on maternal traits, docility, and carcass quality.

“We select for high intramuscular fat to achieve MSA (Meat Standards Australia) eating quality to get that high dollar return,’’ he said.

“I was keen to see the Broken Bow progeny and the Emperor calves looked even – we are always after an even line of elite females.’’

South Australian stud breeder Nanni Digiorgio, Lucindale, was impressed with the Emperor and Rennylea Edmund E11 progeny at the field day.

“In my sire selection, I look for a balanced spread of birth to growth EBVs and good structure,’’ he said.

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