Tooraweenah Shorthorn breeders and brothers, Will and Tim Bowman, have shifted to artificial insemination (AI) to keep improving their herd.
The Bowman family has formed a strong relationship with Jason Catts, principal of the Futurity Shorthorn stud at Baradine.
They have been buying Futurity bulls for the past 10 years and Will Bowman said there had been a noticeable improvement in the quality of the breeding herd during that time.
But last year they decided to take their breeding program up a notch by introducing an AI program using semen from top Futurity-based bulls.
Mr Bowman said 152 cows were AI’d with 75 per cent preg tested in calf and 70pc live calves on the ground. The calves are now about three weeks old.
They plan to AI another 100 cows this September. Mr Bowman said the AI program had given them access to better genetics.
The Bowman brothers have just taken over the family farm business from their parents, Michael and Jill, based at “Gundy” near Tooraweenah.
They operate a Shorthorn beef, sheep and lamb and cropping enterprise across 2630 hectares.
They join around 300 Shorthorn cows and 1500 Merino ewes each year and crop about 600ha.
Mr Bowman said the family had been running Shorthorns for generations but he was happy with the breed’s performance.
“I was brought up on them but they perform as well as the Angus anyway, quite often they have better growth rates,” he said.
They target their steers at the JBS Thousand Guineas program, a Shorthorn premium beef brand that has given the whole breed a major boost.
The Beef Shorthorn Society Australia formed an alliance with leading processor, JBS Australia, to showcase top-quality marbled Shorthorn branded beef.
The Bowmans aim to send steers to the JBS feedlot at Caroona near Quirindi aged 15 months and weighing 450kg.
Their herd is also EU-accredited which adds another marketing string to their bow.
About 80 heifers are retained as herd replacements each year with the rest sent to the JBS abattoir at Scone weighing around 440kg (seasons permitting).
The Bowmans have had two calvings a year but are dropping their autumn calving.
Mr Bowman said their breeding strategy was focused on medium-framed, easy-doing cows with low birthweight.
“We don’t want anything too big,” he said. They are tough on fertility and cull cows that don’t get in calf or raise a calf.