WIDGEEGONGA Angus will make what is believed to be an Australian beef industry first next month when it sells 50 PTIC cows – ultrasounded to be carrying female calves.
Principal Michael Carroll’s innovative marketing strategy has been achieved in partnership with Warrnambool Vet Centre following scans to determine the sex of embryos in his herd after joining.
He said vet Matt Dwyer – who also runs his own dairy farm – is one of only three people he knows with the skill to use scan technology and sex selection with an almost 100 per cent accuracy.
Michael has 116 cows catalogued in the annual Team Te Mania online commercial female sale through AuctionsPlus at 11am on March 6.
“Out of 300 calves Matt foetal sexed in his own herd in 2019, he got 297 right and so far this year he has only got one wrong out of 200,” Michael added.
“There is some extra work involved as you can only diagnose sex between eight and 12 weeks, so we had to run 100 of the 400 cows we joined through for a second test four weeks later,” he said.
“For me it will allow increased steer turn off. I calve around 280 cows and ideally would like to retain around 80 heifer calves and turn off 200 steers.
“There are 50 second, third and fourth calvers preg tested to be carrying a female calf in the Team Te Mania commercial female sale.
“I’m retaining all the cows in these age groups with a steer pregnancy and I’ve used the Angus Mating Predictor to identify the heifer calves that will be born in August and September this year that I want to keep.
“The heifer pregnancies I’m selling are predicted to average in the top 15 per cent of the heavy grain index and the ones I’m retaining will be in the top 5 per cent.
“The other 50 cows I’m selling are fifth and sixth calvers. These are the last and best of this age group on the property.”
Michael said for the past 14 years Widgeegonga has been retaining 95 per cent of its heifers and inseminating them to the best young bulls in the Team Te Mania progeny test program.
And said that had allowed the herd “to make pretty rapid genetic progress”.
“This year we’re selling the 116 cows to make way for the 125 heifers we put through a fixed time AI program last year,” Michael added.
“The recent Angus Genetic Benchmarking report shows recent calf drops average in the top 15 per cent of the seedstock population for important traits such as intramuscular fat,” he said.
Michael said Widgeegonga steers were highly sought after by Rangers Valley – and as the intramuscular fat EBV has improved, so has the chiller assessed marble score.
He said he was now getting around 30 per cent of the steers achieving an Ausmeat marble score of 5 or better, which goes into Rangers’ premium Black Market brand.
“We’ve sold the steers almost exclusively to Rangers Valley for the past 14 years and they’re rewarding us with a healthy premium over the going rate for feeder steers, based on loyalty and performance,” Michael explained.
“The industry tools we now have, such as Breedplan and Angus Australia’s mating predictor, are enabling faster genetic gain and this is translating into better feedlot performance and eating quality,” he said.
“And that’s paying off for me as a producer and Rangers Valley as a premium branded meat marketer.”
The Team Te Mania online commercial female sale will offer 743 cows and is AuctionsPlus sale 484.