2018 was one of our dryest years on record and unfortunately 2019 is not shaping up to be any better. In the last few weeks, we have had to move 200 of our cows onto grain and the rest will be following shortly if we don’t get rain soon.
Despite the dry conditions, our positive preg test results were above 90%, with one mob testing 100% positive. Our challenge is now to hang onto those beautiful, fertile, structurally sound cows which have been fertility tested over more than 20 years.
Our male/steer weaners are also being completely hand fed and we hope to get the steers through to a sufficient weight for the JBS Thousand Guineas intake.
Let’s just say that we are all hoping for rain soon!
We wish everyone a Happy Christmas and all the best for the New Year.
The weather has been extremely hot here and we are looking forward to the next cool change which is not in sight at present!
Our dryland lucerne has responded to the 30mm of December rain and we have started weaing calves.
At least we will have some good paddocks for the calves to go onto!
We are very honoured to be announced in this week’s Weekly Times as a contender in the Weekly Times Coles 2018 Farmer of the year. Thanks to James Wagstaff on his great article featuring Amanda and the Shorthorns. The article highlighted the high marbling of our cattle and the sustainability of our pastures even in these very tough times.
We are pleased to have finished our A.I. heifer program this week. 92 heifers were inseminated to a range of top Shorthorn sires including Sprys Primrose’s Buddy and Futurity Kokoda. We are hoping for a high success rate and a tight heifer calving next year.
We are very pleased that the latest Shorthorn Group EBVs published by ABRI have identified our home bred bull Jesse James J94 as a very high marbling bull indeed. With the scanning data from his 2017 heifers now available, Jesse James has gone to the top of the breed for IMF at +1.1%. Of sires born in 2013, he is now equal top with The Grove Gigabytes J0837 for IMF.
Not only that, but Jesse James possesses great temperament and structure with excellent feet and does well on literally ‘the smell of an oily rag’. He is also a great heifer bull.
We secured an excellent semen collection in this bull and will use him both as an A.I. and walking sire this season.
Well we are home from our holiday to the coast and we are just waiting for the heifers to start calving. It will be a very exciting calving this year as we are expecting more than 30 A.I. calves. The heifers are looking great so let’s hope for a stress free calving!
Unfortunately we are still in a pattern of very dry weather. In fact, it is one of the driest starts to a year on record in the Riverina. As such, it is a battle to reach feedlot weights for the steers but we are in there trying. It is a tribute to our easy doing stock that they are holding their condition well. In the hope of a season turn around, we put some young bulls out with the autumn herd. Hopefully the resultant calves will be born into a more favourable season!
We were delighted to hear that our home bred bull, Toogimbie Key Largo K36, won the Sire’s Progeny Group at this year’s Sydney Show. Moreover, his daughter, K.O. KL Duchess, owned by the Ridleys of Condoblin, won the Shorthorn Female, over 12 and not over 15 months. Key Largo was purchased by the Nero stud of Keith and Vicki Ridley as a yearling and has been heavily used in their herd. We still have his dam, Toogimbie Giggles Rosebud, a daughter of Toogimbie Cardiff C6. She is a fine upstanding cow who produces an excellent calf every year.
We are now two thirds through our weaning and it has gone well. All the spring calves weaned so far are out on the lucerne, grazing happily and don’t seem to be missing their mums. We have had all the cows with weaned calves preg tested and we are running at over 90% positives with single sire joining and tight time frames. Only 2 of our 75 joined heifers were not in calf.
All carcase data of our steers sent to the JBS Thousand Guineas has gone into Breedplan. We are already seeing positive changes to our EBVs with improvement in marbling and growth. Our last group of 64 steers marbled at an impressive average of 2.4.
Our autumn herd is calving now and we are seeing Bayview Travis’s first calves. They are little pocket rockets, born small but thriving even in our inclement conditions where summer has just persisted.
We were shocked to hear of Tony Fountain’s sudden death last weekend. With his weekly Drover’s Journal, Tony united Shorthorn enthusiasts all over the globe and also entertained and enlightened us with his Australian bush stories and down to earth social commentary. He was a great supporter of our Stud, frequently including our cattle photos and mentioning our website. Tony had a true love of cattle and rural Australia and it is hard to believe we will never read his updates again. We send sincere sympathy to his family.