Producers learn about bull genetics
BUYING a bull is a considerable expense for graziers and often a lucky dip purchase.
Making a confident decision on choosing the right bull is vital for farm productivity.
Regional Landcare facilitator Julian Kasiske said productivity started with the right genetics of the bull as it would set the potential for upper or lower production limits that a herd can achieve.
As a result of requests by graziers, a bull selection workshop, hosted by Reef Catchments and the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, was held at McEwens Beach.
It allowed graziers to improve their understanding of genetics and learning about the tools that lead to success in the cattle business.
Highlight of the day was a live demonstration of a bull breeding soundness examination carried out by local vet and grazier Roxanne Morgan.
She explained to local producers why they should consider using objective data to make decisions when buying a bull.
“If the bull is out of a fertile line and they adapt well to your environment, you improve you chances of making money, rather than having a negative impact on your productivity,” Ms Morgan said.
“Bulls drive the genetic direction of a herd given the potential number of calves they produce over a lifetime compared to a cow.”
She said there was a lack of objective data in the northern Australian beef industry in comparison to southern Australia for example, where information was readily available for the angus breed.
Information gives the buyer some form of assurance that the bull will produce a reliable number of progeny over his lifetime and adapt to different environments.
Another objective selection criteria is the dam fertility history. Ms Morgan said a bull’s mother should have had a calf every year for the best chances of him producing heifers with the same trait.
Ms Morgan said a large amount of research on the subject had finished off in the last 10 years and information and support for these objective measurements were becoming more popular, but northern Australia had some catching up to do.
Department of Agriculture and Fisheries beef extension officer Jim Fletcher explained the main changes in bull selection are a move to utilise more measured objective data that includes weight and measurements, semen quality and days to calving.
GENETICS: Beef producers learning about bull selection and the importance of genetics at the bull selection field day held recently at McEwens Beach.