Pacing the paddocks of Karoo Angus, Meadow Flat, more than twenty years ago, led to a long-lasting relationship for a Blayney cattle producer.
On that day, Bob Russ, Old Stonehouse Pastoral “Iralee”, Blayney, viewed the progeny of known sire, Stockman 365, and decided from that point on, his Angus bulls would be bred by John Reen and his daughter Annie Scott of Karoo Angus.
With a 45-year career as a stock agent across New South Wales and Victoria, Mr Russ has applied decades of knowledge to his own commercial operation.
“While I walked through the paddocks I was able to pick each and every one of Stockman’s calves that day, they were so strong and much bigger than the rest on the ground at the time,” Mr Russ said.
“I brought my first bull that day and since then I have brought one every year,” he said.
“John was a dairy farmer and over my 45 years of looking at cattle, it seems dairy farmers breed almost the best you can buy.
“They know every part of their animal in the dairy industry – they are with them every day.”
Operating 220 commercial cows on 260 hectares of improved pastures, as well as natural pastures, Mr Russ believes the key to his last two drops reaching 95 percent for pregnancy-tested-in-calf, is pasture management.
“I fertilize my pastures and conduct soil tests to be assessed, so the pastures are the best they can be,” Mr Russ said.
“I visited properties during droughts as a stock agent and next-door neighbours would have dramatically different results - one guy would be supplement feeding and his cattle were dying and the other guy had fat cattle with no extra feed but his soils were top-notch - there is definitely method in that,” he said.
Opting for two joinings in May and October, 60 calves hit the ground in March with a further 160 expected to drop in the coming month.
Two Karoo Angus bulls are joined to 60 cows for a nine week period and calves are yard weaned at 7-8 months to maintain manageability and a quiet temperament.
Saying the market for Angus cattle is wide for producers, Mr Russ targets his 11-12 month-old steers at the Carcoar sale yard or local feedlot.
“It’s always seasonal dependent - if the season permits I would keep the steers until about 450 kilograms and sell to the feedlot,” Mr Russ said.
“Last year I was getting $1200 for a steer calf, so why would you grow them out if that’s the return you are getting.”
Although the thought of introducing new bloodlines has crossed Mr Russ’s mind, he will continue with his winning combination.