HAVING improved their pastures to fatten bullocks quicker, Gin Gin beef producers Doug and Sue Campbell are hopeful the addition of Simmental sires to their breeder herd will continue to boost their operation.
The couple run a breeding and fattening business on the properties, Nine Mile and Lundsville, which span 10,000 acres, north of Gin Gin.
Their 600 head breeder herd are mated with Angus, Brahman and now Simmental bulls from September (maiden heifers) and October (cows).
Progeny were turned off at two-and-a-half to three years old, but about 2500 acres of improved pastures has allowed them to finish them for the EU market in two years.
It is also hoped to improve their second calf heifer rates.
“Like everyone you are trying to get your calving percentages better and it’s a bit hard when you are developing country, because that block of dirt is locked up for so long, you can’t put anything on it,” Ms Campbell said.
“We did do a pasture last year at our other place (Lundsville) for once our maiden heifers have calved out.
“Because they are only two-year-old and they have got a calf on them, they are still trying to grow and we had trouble with that second year calf. So we are trying to put them onto pasture, once they have calved out, lift their body score and lift that second year calving percentage.”
This season, Simmental bulls have replaced Charolais in their genetic pool in a bid to increase fat measurements on their cattle, while retaining conformation.
Iin a first for the Campbell’s operation, they were also forced to buy in weaner cattle after some of their herd tested positive to pestivirus last year.
While they treat their maiden heifers against the disease, which causes abortion, it is believed it may have been contracted in their older animals.
“That was the first time we had been tested for it, but we really noticed it in our maiden heifers,” Ms Campbell said.
“Because with our maiden heifers we get pretty close to 100 per cent calving, out of 90 there were 30 without calves.”
Usually culling on age, Mr Campbell said extra improved pasture breeder country allowed them to be a little more lenient after the pestivirus setback.
“A quick way to get some more breeders is we didn’t cull on age, predominately we cull on age, temperament and then none calvers after that,” he said.
The Campbells have, however, been fortunate to receive 430mm since January and are hopeful for a good winter season.
“Last winter we pretty well didn’t have a winter, it was very short, and I don’t think that’s good,” Mr Campbell said.
“Time for a couple good winters to get rid of some external parasites and stuff like that.”
Read more Spring Beef: Breeding for feeder cattle market