IT’S the breed that can meet all markets, but you can’t go past the maternal ability of Angus cattle, according to Wagga Wagga producer Frank Sorraghan.
Mr Sorraghan has been breeding Angus cattle since 1989 and now has 1300 breeders at “Wisconsin”, Ladysmith, and “Mountain Creek Estate”, Woomargama.
“We bought one of the Litchfield family properties of the Hazeldean stud, and along with that we bought 100 of their heifers,” he said.
“We also bought some very good females from Merrigrange that we really liked because they’ve got a bit of size about them.”
With a background in dairy cattle, Mr Sorraghan has a strong focus on maternal traits.
”As Holstein Friesian breeders the focus was always on the maternal traits and I like the fertility, milking ability and meat quality of the Angus breed,” he said.
The Sorraghans are repeat clients of the RAS Angus sale at Sydney Royal Easter Show.
“I believe Sydney show is a good opportunity to buy good cattle from breeders that haven’t got the large numbers to have their own sale,” Mr Sorraghan said.
He looks for maternal traits when choosing bulls, as well as good 400- and 600-day weights.
“When I’m buying bulls I like to look at the females behind them and know that they’re good sound cows with a good temperament, good teats and good feet – they need to have the total package.”
Mr Sorraghan runs a commercial operation as well as Rockwood Angus and Rockwood Charolais studs.
The commercial operation targets the pasture assured market, turning cattle off at an average of 18 months.
By that age they weigh between 580 kilograms and 620kg, for an averaged dressed weight of 300kg, Mr Sorraghan said.
“We get them to the weights then seek a good over the hooks price. They generally go direct to the abattoirs but we look for all the options possible.”
The pure Angus and Angus/Charolais cross cattle have had plenty of success in feedlot competitions.
“Our crossbred cattle are always the best performers. The hybrid vigour is outstanding so we’ll often have our crossbred cattle gone two months earlier at the same weights as the straight Angus cattle.”
Mr Sorraghan sells about 80 bulls out of the paddock each year to clients in southern NSW and Victoria.
Angus cattle have been instrumental in his Charolais stud, with Angus recipient cows helping him increase numbers through embryo transfer. The Charolais stud started nine years ago and has grown to 200 breeders.
“Angus cows make fantastic mothers and they’re good as recipients because they have plenty of milk.”