TARGETING the local trade market where their calves are in high demand, the Carney family of Eulalie North, between Yeoval and Wellington, are using composite bulls to produce calves that mature quicker.
Garry and Lindy Carney made the move from trading steers to running a cow/calf operation 10 years ago, and since have been focused on producing black coated crossbred cattle.
"I'm all for crossbred cattle, not purebreds... normally we run about 90 cows, but last winter we sold off the older cows and are down to about 70 ... we'd like to get more," Mr Carney said.
"They are predominately Angus/Santa Gertrudis and Limousin cross."
Running a terminal operation with a late winter, early spring calving, the Carneys usually buy in second-calvers and they don't care what the calf is, as long as it is black.
"Number one when we are picking cows is Angus, then we try and buy cows with something else in them to give them some size ... the Santas are a real good cross to get a bigger frame, but they are hard to find - people don't realise how good they are," he said.
"We did try Limousin from the New England, but every now and then they throw a red calf, which we don't want."
All calves are sold through Forbes saleyards, where they try and hit the vealer/yearling market with a 400 kilogram animal.
"Most go into butcher shops because they have a beautiful carcase when you put the composite bulls over them," Mr Carney said.
"A few occasions we have grown them out to bigger steers and sold to feedlots, but the idea is to turn them off as quick as we can and get cows back in calf."
The Carneys have been purchasing composite black Angus/Charolais cross bulls from Rosedale Charolais for close to 10 years now, selecting those that offer a quicker maturity pattern.
"We want our calves to get to 400 kilograms at 12 to 14 months old, so we look for bulls that will get calves to mature quick," he said.
This year the Carneys purchased two bulls for a $5500 average.
Operating across 2226 hectares (5500 acres), the Carneys run a mixed farming enterprise made up of the cattle, Merino sheep and cropping.
"We have the 70 head of cattle (back from 90 after the drought), and want to purchase more," Mr Carney said.
"We try and get them off mum and finished as quick as possible, last year weaning them and putting them on feeders to help save condition on their mothers. Normally they'd graze crops.
"We also run around 4000 to 4500 Merino ewes - that is our main enterprise. We have been on Cora Lynn blood for about 20 years and like the traditional Merino type that is suited to our area that they produce."
In 2019 they purchased the $3800 Cora Lynn sale-topper, a poll son of Cora Lynne Special Poll growing 19.6 micron wool with a 99.9 per cent comfort factor.
Currently in the middle of shearing, the Carneys target the 19 to 19.5 micron range and have been getting a good wool cut.
"They are coming off the board fantastic, with quite a bit of wool on them which is great ... we are surprised with how little dust is in the fleece," he said.
The Carneys also have around 485 ha (1200a) of crop in this year including; wheat, oats, barley and some canola.
"The grazing crops look fantastic, it has been a real turn around, and we are looking for cattle to graze," he said.