Cat­tle farm­ers throw good money away

Warwick Daily News - South West Queensland Rural Weekly - - Front Page - ME­GAN MASTERS me­gan.masters@thechron­i­cle.com.au

GIV­ING away money sounds like a pretty dumb move to any farmer, but it hap­pens sur­pris­ingly of­ten when cows go to mar­ket.

Sean Ham­mond of Cata­gra Goup was at Beef Expo in Toowoomba last week and said it was a com­mon mis­take for farm­ers to pull what they thought were empty cows out of the pad­dock and send them off to the sa­le­yards only for another farmer to get the added bonus of calves no­body knew were there.

He said it was the main rea­son be­hind the re­cent up­surge in pro­duc­ers and feed­lots pick­ing up ul­tra­sound units to test the herd, much like the Re­pro-scan units he had on dis­play.

Where farm­ers had to wait un­til two-and-a-half to three months to test their fe­males man­u­ally, of­ten miss­ing calves in the process, ul­tra­sound tech­nol­ogy could pick up calves from about 30 days into preg­nancy, al­low­ing farm­ers to put their best breed­ers on better fod­der and sell off the empty cows with­out wor­ry­ing so much about giv­ing away free money.

“You can make a man­age­ment call on these an­i­mals a lot ear­lier,” he said.

“As a case study, I preg tested 50 head of cat­tle that were all tested man­u­ally and all found to be empty,” he said.

“I found 15 young preg­nan­cies, so about $6000 worth of calves alone, and it hap­pens all the time.”

He said it took about 400 head and one year for most peo­ple to get a 40 per cent re­turn on buy­ing an ul­tra­sound unit.

He said feed­lots were in­creas­ingly turn­ing to the tech­nol­ogy as well as cat­tle farm­ers and learn­ing to use the equip­ment was easy.

PHOTO: ME­GAN MASTERS

BE CER­TAIN: Sean Ham­mond be­lieves farm­ers are giv­ing away free calves by not us­ing an ul­tra­sound ma­chine to preg test cows be­fore sell­ing them.

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