Another load of bull!

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8 years 4 months ago #515986 by Hawkspur
Replied by Hawkspur on topic Another load of bull!
He does sound like he'll be good for your herd. Interesting stuff.
Maybe you just didn't photograph his good side. ;)

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8 years 4 months ago #515987 by tonic
Replied by tonic on topic Another load of bull!
That was very interesting, and your animals are lovely!

Coming from a dairy background I do have a question. In dairying they have moved away from the really big animals like they have overseas after research showed that the 'average' sized ones often were more profitable. The bigger ones needed more food in proportion to what they produced than the smaller ones making them less profitable despite appearing to be much better when only looking at amount produced.

Is that a thing in beef animals also? Comparing what it costs to produce each kg of beef between animals or breeds? Or is bigger better regardless?

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8 years 4 months ago #515990 by Ruth
Replied by Ruth on topic Another load of bull!

tonic wrote: ...Is that a thing in beef animals also? Comparing what it costs to produce each kg of beef between animals or breeds? Or is bigger better regardless?

That partly depends on the environment. Yes bigger animals take more feed, but in terms of yield, if you can run the big ones well, they're probably worth it. Put a big animal in an environment in which it struggles to get quite enough and you'd be better finishing a smaller one well.
There are EBVs for feed efficiency as well, in some breeds - not sure if MG does it, Sue?
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8 years 4 months ago #515992 by Sue
Replied by Sue on topic Another load of bull!
Thanks for the replies folks, I hoped I wasn't just talking to myself-and Ruth who knows how it all works anyway!

Hawkspur- somehow he just doesn't have the same eye appeal, I'm not sure what it is, but he is a couple of months younger and will be a different type of bull as he matures. Also when you take a photo you can really enhance or destroy how they look! When they turn their heads to look, it shortens their neck and they look out of proportion! He is actually a bull I was a bit unsure of to start with as he always seems to be looking at you, whether with evil intentions or not I was never sure. As he was reared on the hills around Ettrick/Cromwell and probably didn't have much human contact he was not so laid back as our home bred boys who know the routine and where the gates are! He is much better now he has 19 cows to keep in order and just goes with the flow! He lost his NAIT tag between being photographed for the sale we bought him at in May, and getting off the truck at our place a month later. I have a replacement tag from the breeder-but not sure if I'm game enough to get him in the head bale to put it in!

Tonic, yes your observance in dairying is just as the same as the beef industry, which is also is coming around to the same way of thinking! There was a time about 20 years ago when many of the beef breeds got bigger and bigger-due to the introduction of bloodlines, especially the use of Angus and Hereford blood lines from North America. They were all chasing the bigger carcase for export beef and to compete with the European breeds like Charolais and Simmental who were bigger, but actually took a year longer to finish.

From a maternal beef breed point of view, which is what the British breeds like Angus, Hereford and Murray Greys are used for, the one that has to have the calf and rear it, then having great big cows for 12 months of the year was not being as efficient as feeding a smaller framed cow that can feed a calf and wean half her own bodyweight instead of just a third.

Our breed was no different and the minimum height when we started 36 years ago is probably 10cm shorter than where we like to have them today. We felt as though we were leading miniature cattle in the show ring beside some of the Simmentals and Charolais we competed against-nowadays we feel much closer-as they have come down as we have got taller.

Some of our mature cows are probably between 700 and 900kgs now, whereas 600 to 700kgs is where would like them to be. We are divided between trying to breed bulls suitable for the dairy heifer mating-which need to be born small and easily and possibly early (short gestation) but be able to grow fast and finish early.
Trouble is, these two attributes don't fit together nicely in the breeding game. To get the carcase, the quick growth and the ideal finishing weight-they usually have to be born bigger! Also when you continually select small calves from small cows you eventually have a herd of small cows which can in turn have a small pelvis and more likely to have calving difficulty-so you have to swap your bloodlines around and pick the calves which are closest to where you want to go! That's what makes breeding such a frustrating and exciting hobby year after year!

There has been plenty of work done on getting beef animals finished by 2 years instead of 3 years old, they weigh less but the turn over is quicker and in some circumstances you can stock more smaller ones per hectare-but this just usually applies to the animals second winter and how much they eat to put on those last few kgs.

Sue
Labrador lover for yonks, breeder of pedigree Murray Grey cattle for almost as long, and passionate poultry person for more years than I care to count.
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8 years 4 months ago #515993 by Sue
Replied by Sue on topic Another load of bull!
Ruth, no, MG doesn't have a feed efficiency EBV in NZ, but they do in Australia where they have animals regularly going into feed lots that can be measured.
They have Indexes for Vealers, Supermarket beef-which we would call Local trade- and for EU Heavy steer index, all expressed in $'s above or below breed average.
The sire of our Steamroller, Monterey Steamroller, is well above breed average for all 3.

In NZ we have a Dairy Index EBV, which is based on a combination of several EBV's which are expressed as a dollar value in terms of the animal being able to produce more or less dollars worth of carcase than the breed average-which is based on a crossbred (with a dairy breed) animal easy/early calving at average or below birth weight, but growing to 600 days faster with a better carcase composition and weight!

On the NZ Dairy Index our Kilradie Steamroller is +$20 to a breed average of +$12, which is pretty good, as his birthweight has been modified by his NZ mother!
However our 2 home bred bulls Ignite and Ilex are +$29 and +$45 for Dairy Index which indicates we have bloodlines more suited to dairy heifer mating than feed lot pure bred beef!

Sue
Labrador lover for yonks, breeder of pedigree Murray Grey cattle for almost as long, and passionate poultry person for more years than I care to count.

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8 years 4 months ago #515995 by Ruth
Replied by Ruth on topic Another load of bull!
Angus is the same, actually, feed efficiency EBV only in the Australian database, but as I used a few of those, it was still of use.

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