Running a successful beef enterprise in a relatively consistent and 'safe' high rainfall zone has put the emphasis on being as efficient and productive as possible in the current market environment of strong prices, but ever-increasing costs.
That is the overriding goal for 100 per cent Angus commercial producers Bruce and Anna Allworth.
The best feedback we can get is repeat business and we find that the same feedlotters are seeking us out each year.
The pair has an 800-head beef herd and self-replacing Merino flock on their 1350-hectare southern NSW property 'Talooby', near Holbrook - which receives average annual rainfall of 780 millimetres
Dr Allworth is also a Professor in ruminant health and production and works part-time at the Wagga Wagga campus of Charles Sturt University.
His family has farmed in the Holbrook area for three generations since the late 1930s.
They started using Angus genetics in their cattle herd in the 1950s.
The Allworths are one of the longest-serving clients of the Rennylea Angus stud - which is based in the Murray Valley - having sourced sires from the Corrigan family for more than 30 years.
"Our breeding aims are not just to chase growth and vigor, but to make sure our herd is fertile and productive," Dr Allworth said.
"To achieve this, we are selecting sires based on Breedplan estimated breeding values (EBVs) for Growth and maintaining - not increasing - mature body size.
"Calving Ease EBVs are also sought for the bulls we use over our heifers.
"All of these traits are important to us as producers and, certainly, growth EBVs are highly important to feedlots.
"But but our whole focus is not just on growth."
Dr Allworth said the Rennylea stud was putting selection emphasis on marbling - or Intramuscular Fat EBV - and for their own herd they received very good feedback from feedlotters about carcase quality - as well as the good daily growth gains they get while the stock are on feed.
"The best feedback we can receive is repeat business and we find that the same feedlotters are seeking us out each year," he said.
"That tells us we are on the right track with performance of our stock in our target market."
The Allworths have a breeding base of about 370 females each year, with calving occurring in late winter and steers and heifers then sold the following November at an age of 14-15 months and at weights of about 450 kilograms per head.
The couple sells steers and excess heifers mostly into the feedlot sector and the majority of their steers go to Queensland buyers.
Dr Allworth said using Rennylea Angus sires ensured their commercial herd achieved high growth rates when young, while keeping a lid on body size and not compromising fertility.
He said for ease of management, joining in heifers was tight - comprising one cycle of 21-days - and the aim was to have at least 60 per cent of heifers and more than 90 per cent of older females pregnancy tested in calf.
"Typically we get 50 to 60 per cent of heifers in calf over the 21 days, and then the cows all produce calves in the first two cycles - with usually a 92 to 94pc pregnancy tested in calf," he said.
"Having a tight calving is vital in a commercial herd."
Dr Allworth said plans for the future were to continue developing a cattle enterprise that was simple to manage and efficient - especially given quite predictable seasonal conditions in their area year-in-year-out.
"Part of that is ensuring we get the best of the best genetics from our bull supplier," he said.
"Our management is pretty tight - and set up to cope with typical variations in seasons - so we know what we are dealing with and can strive to be as efficient as possible with breeding and management."