Living the quiet life pays off

Simmental-cross working wonders at Theodore

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For Karen Smoothy, having quiet cattle is crucial. So using Simmental genetics in her herd is working wonders.

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QUIET: Karen Smoothy, Tipperary, Theodore, with her 18-month-old Meldon Park Simmental bull. She says their quiet temperament was ideal.

QUIET: Karen Smoothy, Tipperary, Theodore, with her 18-month-old Meldon Park Simmental bull. She says their quiet temperament was ideal.

Karen Smoothy loves quiet, especially when it comes to her cattle. And that's why increasing Simmental genetics in her herd is working wonders.

Mrs Smoothy, Tipperary, Theodore, says putting Simmental bulls over her Simbrah Droughtmaster-cross breeders has made life easier.

Mrs Smoothy and her husband Wayne had bred Simbrah Droughtmaster-cross for a decade. But when Wayne passed away in 2015, she had to make a change. She went to the Meldon Park stud, Dalby, to buy a Simbrah bull when the purebred Simmental bulls caught her eye. She still bought a Simbrah bull, but she was intrigued. And the next year, she couldn't help herself.

"I liked the look and conformation of the Simmental bulls," she said. "I thought I might try something new. Being a woman, I wanted quiet cattle. And these bulls were all well-handled bulls."

BEEFY: Billy Smoothy with one of their Simmental-cross calves. Their weaners are generally sold to feedlots when they reach 420 to 450 kilograms.

BEEFY: Billy Smoothy with one of their Simmental-cross calves. Their weaners are generally sold to feedlots when they reach 420 to 450 kilograms.

She bought two bulls, and was immediately impressed. "They had great length, size, bone and evenness. We just love the temperament of the Meldon Park bulls. And that quiet temperament has flowed through the progeny of our herd. And you have to like the look of them. I was led to believe Simmentals couldn't handle heat, that they were softer. But the bulls have handled it really well."

Mrs Smoothy has introduced controlled calving, from December for three months, and the Simmental has shone through in the past two drops. "I love calving time now. It's exciting seeing such sweet, soft, well-framed calves," she said. "The Simmentals are really contributing to high fertility and growth rate in the herd."

"There seems to be more markets for the crossbred. As a weaner, feeder or fat, they do really well. And the feedlots like the crossbred."

The Smoothys used to sell weaners on-property, but now Mrs Smoothy and her son Billy aim progeny to feedlots, with cull heifers going to the sale yards, but in the future she aims to spay cull heifers and carry them through to feeder weight.

GROWTH: The Smoothys' Simmental-cross calves at branding.

GROWTH: The Smoothys' Simmental-cross calves at branding.

Because of the drought, they had to cut their herd down by about a third, but their management of pasture also made a huge difference.

"I'm very cautious with feed," Mrs Smoothy said. "I have a theory that I wouldn't want to be hungry, so I don't want the cattle to be hungry."

The Smoothys have implemented the regenerative farming strategies of Resource Consulting Services (RCS), helping them to match stocking rates to carrying capacity to keep good ground cover. Mrs Smoothy said the rotational grazing helped manage ticks in their herd, and they haven't had to dip for four years. She said they had seen massive improvements in their property.

"I'm passionate about it. The support network and knowledge (RCS) has is amazing."

FERTILITY: Karen Smoothy said the Simmental-cross produces soft, well-framed calves.

FERTILITY: Karen Smoothy said the Simmental-cross produces soft, well-framed calves.

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