Bat­tle of na­tions’ ge­net­ics

The Northern Star - Northern New South Wales Rural Weekly - - News - AN­DREA DAVY An­drea.davy@ru­ral­weekly.com.au

THE best Aus­tralian and US an­gus ge­net­ics will go head to head at the As­cot Spring Sale this Septem­ber.

Prog­eny of Aus­tralia’s top-priced an­gus bull Mil­lah Mur­rah King­dom (val­ued at $150,000) and Amer­ica’s high­est sell­ing an­gus North Dakota’s SAV In­ter­na­tional 2020 (val­ued at $400,000), will be on of­fer at the War­wick sale.

How­ever, As­cot Charo­lais and An­gus owner Jim Wedge was quick to shrug off the no­tion the ritzy ge­net­ics would re­sult in another record-break­ing sale for them.

While Mr Wedge would love to see his cat­tle beat the Queens­land an­gus record, set at their 2016 sale for an av­er­age sale price of $12,604, he felt it was un­likely.

Sales of top-end stud sires, in­clud­ing a $70,000 bull, drove up their over­all av­er­age last year, he ex­plained.

“Those big prices bring up the av­er­ages. Of course, we would like to match it, but re­al­is­ti­cally I don’t think we will be that high this year,” he said.

“We broke the Queens­land record last year for the over­all an­gus av­er­age and for sell­ing the top-priced an­gus bull, it’s some­thing we al­ways strive to im­prove, but last year was an ex­cep­tional year for us re­ally. I doubt whether we will match it this year.”

Most bulls would be sold at more hum­ble prices, be­tween $4000 and $8000, he pre­dicted.

At the mo­ment the 65 an­gus and 55 charo­lais sale bulls are look­ing like the per­fect pic­ture of fat, happy cat­tle. It’s a sight that brings Mr Wedge and his wife Jackie a great sense of pride.

“Most of the bulls are just com­ing in off pas­ture or crop. There is just a lit­tle more prepa­ra­tion lead­ing up to the sale,” he said.

“Our fe­male herd is get­ting bet­ter and bet­ter each year. We are spend­ing more time and money on our fe­male herd, with AI pro­grams and em­bryo trans­fer pro­grams.

“We are just start­ing to see the re­sults of that now. We buy the best pos­si­ble bulls we can and use the best cows with our AI pro­grams.

“When we see our cat­tle and our bulls look­ing re­ally good it does give you that sense of pride and ac­com­plish­ment.”

When the Ru­ral Weekly caught up with Mr Wedge, he was in the midst of the hefty pa­per­work trail of cat­tle log­ging: get­ting all the linage, car­cass sta­tis­tics and in­for­ma­tion ready for the cat­a­logue.

The stud is now util­is­ing their sec­ond prop­erty at Glen Innes, which has al­lowed them to boost their herd.

Mr Wedge said the bol­stered num­bers were to meet the strong de­mand for an­gus cat­tle.

Although ge­net­ics from SAV In­ter­na­tional 2020 brings a cer­tain star power to the sale, Mr Wedge be­lieved the mar­ket was still dic­tated by more tra­di­tional traits.

“We mainly fo­cus on the Aus­tralian ge­net­ics as we know they suit the con­di­tions,” he said.

“But ev­ery now and then you have to use some out­side ge­net­ics, so your breed­ing pool doesn’t get too tight.

“So peo­ple are not nec­es­sar­ily chas­ing Amer­i­can ge­net­ics, they are just chas­ing good bulls that have good car­cass qual­i­ties, and are good types.”

The year­ling bulls sired by Mil­lah Mur­rah King­dom of­fered for sale will be some of the first sold in Aus­tralia. The sale will be held on Septem­ber 29.

Cat­a­logues will be avail­able on re­quest closer to the sale date. Visit www.as­cot­cat­tle. com.au.

PHO­TOS: CON­TRIB­UTED

TOP FORM: An­gus bulls ready for the an­nual As­cot Spring Sale on Septem­ber 29.

More than 50 head of polled charo­lais bulls will be up for sale.

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