Sale bulls are selected on their structure, performance and temperament. Even though we lay stress on EBVs this is no way intended to minimise of what the eye can tell us. However we remain convinced that without EBVs an animal is inadequately described and those who rubbish them belong with the climate deniers.
Produce cows capable of getting in calf within 2 cycles of exposure to the bull.
Each cow have a live calf without assistance.
Each cow have a calf every year.
“I think we can claim to have succeeded in this in that the only older cows that require assistance at birth are those whose calf is presenting abnormally. Where the heifers are concerned it is exceptional for those having a heifer calf to require assistance although in some seasons anything up to 10 % of those having bull calves might have difficulty.
We might be able to avoid this by using sires with very low birth weight EBVs but one of the objects of the exercise is to challenge the heifer to have a calf within the normal weight range before she qualifies as a permanent member of the herd. Needless to say the cow is expected to feed and care for its calf until they are separated at weaning.”
The herd is raised on pastures consisting mostly of subclover, annual rye, phalaris and the usual weeds which we do our best to control.
Pasture hay or cereal hay is provided. During the summer and autumn drought period sale bulls and maiden heifers are given a ration of oats to maintain growth until the pastures have recovered after the autumn break.
Foot trimming is not practised.
Calves are tagged, tattooed and weighed within 24 hours of birth. 200 day, 400 day and 600 day weights are taken at the appropriate stages or sometimes more often as an aid to management.
Scanning is done when the 600 day weights are taken and the cows weighed and fat scored.
The calves are usually weaned at about 240 days while the cull bulls are castrated shortly afterwards.
All calves are vaccinated with 7:1 and Pestigard, and the bulls with Vibriovax.
They are drenched with Duramax at weaning and in summer all animals are given booster vaccinations and drenched with Duramax.
The herd had MN3 status against Johne’s Disease after 2005 and now has Biosecurity 8 status.
All sale bulls are examined for breeding soundness and undergo semen testing before sale.
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