Generations united in goals

Powering the switch to Angus cattle

Beef
Alexander Molloy with his grandfather John Power, Tarcutta and some of the Hazeldean bulls they recently bought.

Alexander Molloy with his grandfather John Power, Tarcutta and some of the Hazeldean bulls they recently bought.

Aa

Grandfather and grandson team work on transitioning their cattle enterprise.

Aa

Grandfather and grandson team John Power and Alexander Molloy are in the middle of transitioning Mr Power's cattle enterprise.

The duo are initiating rotational grazing, undertaking pasture improvement on a newly purchased property and making the switch from Herefords to Angus.

It is Alexander, currently in Year 12, who is leading the charge, under the full support and guidance of his grandfather.

"Alexander talked me into changing to Angus cattle because of the premium price they attract," said Mr Power, who has run Herefords since the 1980s when he purchased his property, Pine Ridge, between Tarcutta and Tumbarumba.

"I'll support him 100 per cent. He's got his heart in it and he's interested."

Alexander, who plans to work in the beef industry when he's finished school, said he believed with the market demanding Angus, it was in their best interest to make the change.

"You've got to go with what the market wants," he said.

Their 140 new Angus cows, bought PTIC, are calving.

Their 140 new Angus cows, bought PTIC, are calving.

Mr Power, who also has a hay trading business, started buying in pregnancy-tested-in-calf Angus cows with calves at foot last October, purchasing 140 first and second calvers in total via private sales and Auctions Plus.

They decided not to retain any Herefords, making it a straight conversion.

Most of the Hereford cattle were sold in the Wagga Wagga saleyards, some as cows and calf units.

"We destocked pretty early during the drought, but when we sold our cattle we put the proceeds aside to buy back in," Mr Power said.

"There's eight to 10 years left in the cows we've bought, but we'll probably be quick to cull the ones that don't join up."

Earlier this month they were one of the volume buyers at Hazeldean, purchasing five Angus bulls from the Cooma stud.

"We bought top of the line cows so we thought we better get top of the line bulls, then hopefully we'll get premium prices when we sell," Mr Power said.

Looking over John Power's new property, Mundilla.

Looking over John Power's new property, Mundilla.

Alexander said they were looking for structurally sound bulls that ticked their estimated breeding values boxes.

"We were after high 400 and 600-day growths, low birth weights, high eye muscle areas and good fertility," he said.

The cows have just finished calving on Mr Power's new property, Mundilla, which was purchased earlier this year and is just 250 metres down the road from Pine Ridge.

"We're calving all the cows at the same time and joining at the same time, so everything will be uniform and we'll have an even line of cattle," Mr Power said.

"The bulls will go in for their first joining in November."

Mr Power has put a significant investment into upgrading the new property, undertaking aerial spraying and spreading lime and superphosphate.

They have also recently sown paddocks with a phallaris, clover and ryegrass mix.

"We've put all the ingredients in, so now we've just got to get the end result," Mr Power said.

The next project on the agenda is the new property's internal fencing, Mr Power and Alexander keen to start rotational grazing to improve their carrying capacity.

"We're in the process of breaking the place up into smaller paddocks, the cattle will be rotated through to keep at least 1200kg of dry matter in each paddock so we don't over graze," Alexander said.

"We hope it will increase plant competition."

Meanwhile, their Angus weaners, purchased as calves with the cows, will be run at Pine Ridge.

The 11 month-olds currently average just under 350 kilograms and the plan is to sell them from January onwards.

Their main target market going forward will be the feedlots, but Mr Power said it would obviously depend on the season.

"We'll grow some of them out to 450kg, we should be able to sell a line of cattle, that's what the idea is," Mr Power said.

"We'd also like to get a line of heifers, not so much to breed for ourselves but so we can sell a line of heifers joined with Hazeldean blood."

Aa

From the front page

Sponsored by