FOURTH generation farmer Robert Wilson of Dungowan believes knowing the value of a good bull is important when heading to an auction or private sale.
Selecting on visual appraisal rather than figures, Mr Wilson who runs a self-replacing Charolais/Hereford crossbred operation has an eye for cattle and believes some people skimp when it comes to understanding the value of what a good sire is worth.
"Say a bull goes to roughly 30 cows, say those cows are worth $2000 each that is $60,000 (worth of cows)... and people want to only pay $2000 or $3000 for a bull," he said.
If a sire has a 50 per cent influence over the calf crop, and producers are wanting to hit specifications, produce a better product and increase profits, then chasing a cheap sire could mean purchasing a lower quality bull, or one that does not suit.
This could be reflected in the price of progeny when sold in the future.
"(For my operation) I believe $6000 to $8000 is reasonable, with $8000 generally being my top," he said.
"(At a Helmsman sale last week) I could've started the bulls at $4000 but I started them at $5000 (knowing I could increase if need be) because I valued them at that."
Calving from May to September, Mr Wilson is back to running about 45 breeders; a third of what he was prior to the drought.
"White (Charolais) cows run with the red (Hereford) bull, and vice-versa - we like the creamy red colour calves," he said.
"If we buy a new bull, we always put him out with another to make sure we are covered if something is wrong with him.
"This year we are a month behind with calving ... out of all the cows that have calved, there has been nine sets of twins, with 16 more cows to go.
"We normally have a big percentage of twins."
He joins his females at two years of age to put extra growth in them.
"I might miss out on the calf earlier, but I get it back in the long run when I cash in the cow (as they are bigger and weigh more)," he said.
"I've also found that on average they have a longer breeding life as they were not stressed when they were younger and smaller trying to carry and raise a calf.
"Generally if I've had one calve earlier it has stunted their growth, and resulted in a smaller cow as they put a lot into the calf."
Targeting an animal that grows well with good fat cover, Mr Wilson recently sold at a Tamworth store sale where the remainder of his steers made $1700 a head, his 12-month-old heifers making $1800/head and a cull Charolais cross female made $2100.
"Normally we sell (the bulk of calves) around May or June at around 12 months, but lately they have done so well, and were ready and heavy enough to go, so we sold in March," he said.
"It is more when they are ready to go, they go rather than age. Once an animal gets fat, you sell it ... if you hold onto it, it gets over fat."
Mr Wilson likes to background his calves, putting a calf-feeder out while on their mothers.