USING a Limousin bull over crossbred cows is producing heavy yearling steers for Dennis and Judy Walker.
The Walkers run a small herd of Hereford/Simmental cows at Swan Hill, joining them to Garren Park Hank, who was purchased at the 2014 Limousin national sale.
They've used Limousin genetics since 2006, when they bought a stud cow, Hagley Strawberry, and her bull calf, from the Donna Valley stud at Holbrook.
"That bull calf became my herd bull, then we bought Hank, and he's a grandson of Strawberry," Mrs Walker said.
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Longevity is a priority for the Walkers, along with temperament and calving ease.
"Hank's rising eight, but he's got a great temperament and he puts that into the calves," Mrs Walker said.
"I have nice big cows, and I've culled them based on fertility and temperament.
"We haven't had any calving trouble at all with Hank. They're beautiful little calves, but they grow quickly."
Calves are turned off as vealers or yearlings, and they have no trouble with weight gain, with Mrs Walker selling yearling steers weighing from 500 to 545 kilograms in October last year.
She said they always had access to good quality hay to supplement pasture.
"They're nice, heavy steers at that age. We always have plenty of hay in feeders, a mix of cereal, vetch and bales of straw, and "We normally grow summer pasture like sorghum, but we haven't had a water allocation for two years. This year, with any early break, we're sowing barley, but we've been getting cereal hay from the Mallee area, which is a lot sweeter than hay off our irrigation.
"With good feed I can turn them off at 10 or 11 months, and with the Simmental genetics, they've got the good milk, which helps turn the calves off early."