Establishing an Angus stud to complement their family's commercial cattle operation will allow Ben Lucas to create a line of purpose-built sires that will offer calving ease, longevity and suitable growth.
Based at Book Book near Wagga Wagga, Mr Lucas is a 2022 GenAngus Future Leaders Program participant who along with his wife Bailey and sons Fletcher, 3, and Jack, five months, are striving for success in the future after recently purchasing their own property and creating the Baylen Angus stud.
Mr Lucas works full time on his family's Tarcutta-based cow/calf enterprise which has been in the family for 45 years.
"I have grown up on the farm, and have been working there full time for seven years," he said.
"We run 1000 breeders or just over. We are joining 400 maiden heifers each year, and that is my go to there with the bulls ... we are looking at breeding 16 bulls to put over them annually.
"Most of the heifers are retained except for the bottom end which is cut out and turned over, or fattened and then sold.
"Steers go into the feedlot job at around 18 months. Teys (Australia) have been buying our steers for as long as I can remember ... they go to Jindalee feedlot or the kill cattle go straight to Teys plant in Wagga."
Mr Lucas said they get some feedback on the kill cattle, and he believes there is demand for marbling.
"They carry a bit of IMF [intramuscular fat] as is, but if you get below average they won't cut as well," he said.
"We focus on it (IMF) but not massively."
The key objectives in Mr Lucas's breeding program are birthweight, calving ease and 400-day growth.
"The aim is to tidy feet up and keep 400-day growth good ... it is also a matter of longevity at the end of the day, foot scores need to be reasonable," he said.
"Calving that many heifers means we want calving ease and birthweight - we don't want to be out pulling calves across that many heifers."
Mr Lucas said he decided to breed his own sires for the commercial herd after having an interest in bull breeding and genetics.
"It is a good opportunity," he said.
"We started with a few stud heifers and are still breeding some of our commercial cows to AI [artificial insemination] - that is the beauty of the beef industry at the moment, you don't need to source a bull but you can use semen from across the world.
"It will allow me to really select bulls that are suited to what we want to do and improve ... and I will see those bulls grow up, what improvements are being made.
"We can really knuckle down and see what works and doesn't, and then we can change things that don't."
As there is a push towards carbon neutral, Mr Lucas believes genetic selection will play a role.
"Within Australia, especially with carbon neutral coming in and being able to have control over that, we need to breed bulls that will help lower carbon levels by being feed efficient," he said.
"Demand will push us to be conscious of controlling and changing carbon levels with genetic selection, and why shouldn't we.
"Lowering carbon levels shows the industry is adaptable and willing to make changes.
"We have to have an infinite mindset when it comes to the future, not just think about what happens when we wake up tomorrow but what we can do for our children, and our children's children."
To start his stud, Mr Lucas purchased two heifers at the Reiland Angus Raise the Bar 50th anniversary sale in February, and has since purchased five more.
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