THIRD generation commercial Hereford producer, John Crain, Adelong, believes you don’t throw two generations of breeding out the window just for a change in colour.
Mr Crain and his wife, Isobel, manage “Bangadang” in the Adelong Hills. They run about 500 Hereford cows and up to 5000 Merino ewes in a self-replacing flock.
“We run at maximum stocking rate for a variable season,” he said.
Based on mainly purebred Hereford bloodlines, the commercial operation does not buy in any cattle from off farm but rather breeds their replacements.
The Crain family’s Hereford herd is based on Yukon Park genetics focusing on highly fertile, well structured, productive cattle.
“We use Barry Peel, Yukkon Park, bulls out of Tarcutta because we like the type of cattle,” Mr Crain said.
“The type of cattle is paramount but we do have a strong relationship with the stud, that has formed over the years.”
Cows are joined in October to calve from August onwards. Calves are weaned at seven to eight months of age in April.
“We like to have our calves off before Anzac day in April,” he said.
Half of their heifer drop each year are retained and joined to calve at two and a half years of age to ensure they have calves on the ground before the onset of winter.
The remaining 50 per cent are fattened and sold direct to slaughter. Cows are culled based on fertility and performance.
“We cull for age and performance. As a cow goes through the herd, if they are not performing for a variety of reasons, they go before their time,” he said.
Mr Crain said they have a mixed marketing program.
“The best of the weaners are sold in the store market through the yards,” he said.
“The remaining percentage are carried through to bullocks, targeting around 300 kilograms hot standard carcase weight.”
Bullocks are finished on clover, ryegrass and native pastures before being sold to Teys, Wagga Wagga. The Crain family is Pasturefed Cattle Assurance System (PCAS) accredited.
Hay is supplied during drought periods to ease the feed stress and ensure animals get adequate nutrition.
As they target the long-fed market, they focus on high 600-day weight estimated breeding values (EBVs). They also consider good milk EBVs but mainly select their bull on visual assessment.
Herefords are chosen because they have traditionally been used and animals have an ability to put more weight into cattle and be good maternal females.
“With our operation I don’t see a reason to change the two generations of lineage we have developed,” he said.
“You don’t throw two generations out just for colour.
“There is good cattle in all breeds. It boils down to how producers want to feed them, how they want them to perform and what market they target.”
Mr Crain believes building strong client-producer relationships is important in maintaining repeat buyers and consistency of the product being turned off.