Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Extra growth outweighs brand premium

Simmental New Zealand is developing its own estimated breeding value system for docility. Since its introduction from Europe to NZ in 1972, Simmental breeders have made steady improvements in temperament along with growth rates, yield and carcaseweights, Simmental NZ president Garry McCorkindale said. “We’re accumulating data and awaiting our first run with a reporting EBV for docility.” McCorkindale said Simmental breeders were focused on producing working bulls with the potential to earn premiums for commercial beef farmers.

European cattle were imported for their more muscular and faster growing traits, an ideal cross for the smaller, easier doing British breeds – the cross providing the added advantage of hybrid vigour.

He said added income through extra growth from using Simmental as a terminal sire over British breeds such as Angus or Hereford could outweigh any branded beef premiums.

“You could have a 15% increase in calf weight by weaning time and be hitting export targets before you have to go through a costly second winter.”

McCorkindale said NZ was almost unique for the popular policy of grazing cows behind sheep, with cattle eating anything the sheep cannot or will not eat.

“The commercial beef cow in NZ needs to be a cow that can put two inches of fat on its back over summer and live on it over winter.

“The harder you work your cows the more preparation they do for the sheep.”

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