For James and Sal Morse, “Wongalee”, Molong, the feedback received during the Beef Spectacular trial is invaluable in determining the direction they take their herd.
For the first time this year, the Morse family decided to DNA test the team of steers they entered into the feedback trial in order to sire identify any result that stands out.
Generally the family enters the competition every second year to keep an eye on animal performance, on their first entry in 2015 they were outright winners of the event.
This year they reclaimed the title, taking home the award for grand champion pen as well as topping the feedlot performance category.
The Morses leased 1400 hectares of country at “Wongalee” from Sal’s parents 10 years ago, and have worked from a Shorthorn base to a herd of majority Black Simmental-Angus.
For the past five years bulls have been sourced from Wombramurra Black Simmentals, Nundle.
A huge weight is put upon fertility and temperament.
“You need to have a very fertile base of cows. The bulls we bring in need to be very quiet and easy doing,” Mr Morse said.
Heifers are joined for 22 days and cows for 45, and any female who fails to produce a calf is culled.
“If a heifer fails to get in calf or is they are assisted to rear they are culled,” Mr Morse said.
Bulls are joined at a ratio of three per cent and rotated every 10-12 days.
Calving currently takes place in spring but the family is looking at introducing an autumn calving option to cover a greater number of females with their bulls.
Calves are weaned according to seasonal conditions with the process looking likely to be pushed back to April this year with the continuing dry.
Mr Morse said the couple used the feedback trial in their quest to maximise saleable meat yield, this is also the reason for the injection of the European Black Simmental breed into their herd.
Paying between $10,000 and $15,000 per bull, Mr Morse said the longevity of the Black Simmental-Angus bulls more than repaid the investment.
“We tend to buy our bulls as yearlings rather than as two-year-olds, this allows the young bulls to get better suited to our environment quicker. We are getting three or four years out of the bulls, which is a lot more than I have found with other breeds. This really improves your value for money,” he said.
Cattle graze on multi-species fodder crops and improved pastures, with pasture supplements and licks offered if required.