Spring Angus: Keeping cows in condition at Clear Springs

Spring Angus Keeping cows in great condition key to success at Clear Springs


Beef
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Commercial Angus operation Clear Springs works under the philosophy that if their cows are in good shape, they will have better in-pregnancy rates and more calfs on ground.

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CONDITIONED: Chris Burton at Clear Springs, Jingellic, NSW, is a firm believer in keeping body condition on his cows.

CONDITIONED: Chris Burton at Clear Springs, Jingellic, NSW, is a firm believer in keeping body condition on his cows.

Selecting the right bulls and maintaining healthy livestock has been the focal point for the Angus cattle enterprise, Clear Springs.

Clear Springs is a 2000-hectare property near Jingellic near the NSW and Victorian border, which has an average annual rainfall of 800mm.

Clear Springs is a grazing enterprise with oats sown annually to help fill the winter feed gap.

Pastures are made up of a mix of native and introduced perennial grasses including Phalaris, sub-clovers and Cocksfoot as a blend.

For five years, it has been managed by Chris Burton who runs Clear Springs for owners, the Heathcote family who live in Sydney.

"We join about 1150 Angus cows annually, targeting feeder steer weights," Mr Burton said.

"We aim for about 900 pregnancy-tested-in-calf (PTIC) cows, which is based around a herd structure plan.

"Average EBV birthweight is around 3.5 to 4.

"We try to have accelerated growth from birth to 400 days and for our cows to be moderate. It is why we like to use Rennylea Angus. Their focus on cow efficiency and cost of production and having a moderate mature cow weight is important to us.

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"We have purchased between 30 to 35 bulls off Rennylea in the past five years. We really like their philosophy."

When it comes to eye muscle area, Clear Springs aim for its cattle to be in the top five per cent.

"I go through the catalogue and select the bulls that meet the criteria which will help to achieve this result," Mr Burton said.

"I have found this gives us the best chance of hitting that target.

"We also like to select bulls with positive rib and rump fat, which we believe has a connection to cow fertility.

"After a tough season we expect the cows to have a calf and then get back in calf quickly.

"Rennylea have a strong focus on intramuscular fat and eating quality, which is also attractive to us.

"They have been using genomics for the past few years which gives us even greater confidence to buy from them.

"The bulls we have on hand here are examined by our vet every year.

"If they pass that then we keep them and if they don't we need to replace them.

"So we buy around four bulls a year from Rennylea."

Clear Springs is an all-spring calving operation and Mr Burton said that was by design.

"The requirements of the cow are greater later in the pregnancy and during lactation and we try to meet the growth curve," he said.

"Basically, we begin in August, a month off spring, and that helps us best meet the growth curve.

Mr Burton believes he has seen best results after implementing an early weaning program.

"We are in a cycle of early weaning so the calves get weaned in February," he said.

"This allows the cows to maintain good body condition.

"They are in good stead as they can use fat reserves on their backs going through autumn and winter to be in appropriate body condition for calving with a calving condition score around three."

Clear Springs usually weans calves around 250 kilograms, depending on the season.

"We supplementary feed them from 250kg in February, to around the autumn break, or until there is enough dry matter available in the paddock," Mr Burton said.

"Once they reach 400kg we sell them to directly to the feedlots."

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