The Land

Turning data into dollars at Gilmandyke

Turning data into dollars at Gilmandyke

This is branded content for Gilmandyke Pastoral Co.

THE use of data collection to inform on-farm decisions is paying dividends for Gilmandyke Pastoral Co, with an extensive progeny testing program leading to improved growth rates and commercial returns.

"What we are trying to do is use our large-scale commercial Angus operation to justify the decisions we are making within the stud herd," said Gilmandyke general manager Wade Peatman.

Gilmandyke run a commercial operation of between 2500 and 3000 Angus breeders and a stud operation of 500 cows, alongside a flock of 5000 Merino ewes.

Operating across five properties totalling more than 7284 hectares, the stud is based at historic 'Kangaroobie' near Orange.

Data collection has been a focus of Wade's since taking over the general manager role at Gilmandyke in 2019.

"We are out to prove that economically we are better off using specific bulls," Wade said.

"Yes, they breed us a product that is phenotypically what we want, but at the end of the day we are a business and need to be profitable as well, so they need to be performing on the other end of the scale as well.

Turning data into dollars at Gilmandyke

"Despite an animal looking right, we are now using data to demonstrate its effectiveness," he said.

"There are a lot of really good indicators that come through the EBVs of stud animals, but the data allows us to justify those numbers."

Last year Gilmandyke artificially inseminated 1750 cows, aiming to gain extensive performance data from the sires involved.

"Through that we can test a certain sire against a sire of our own or another industry leading sire. We follow them through from the day they are born," Wade said.

"We record how heavy they are at weaning or how much weight they gain when they are put on crop.

"We also collect data on how well the females come through and how many are retained."

In 2021, Gilmandyke purchased Dunoon Prime Minister as part of a syndicate and are now seeing the first of his progeny at 12-months-old.

Dunoon Prime Minister. Picture: Supplied

"The data that is coming through out of them shows that the data-centric approach is working," said Wade.

"On average, from weaning to first weight, which is about a 60-day spread, his calves were gaining 0.35 per kilogram more than the contemporary group.

"In the current market, over those 60 days, they have put on $130 more than the contemporary group.

"When we are breeding sons of his, even if they only give us that genetic gain by 50 per cent, across a thousand steers it would mean we can be generating an extra $60,000 or $70,000 in that 60-day period," Wade said.

The strict adherence to quality data collection extends to informing decisions Gilmandyke is making on crop management.

"We are testing performances on pastures versus a forage crop by measuring weight gains.

"Growing a crop costs money, so we can ask 'Is the economic benefit there to do it in a livestock operation?'," Wade said.

"By measuring the smaller details, we are trying to build an entire database of information to help us make better decisions.

"At the moment we are sowing what we are calling high performance pastures, which is a lucerne, chicory, clover, fescue mix, from which we are seeing some great weight gains."

Wade believes clients are attracted to Gilmandyke for their strong commercial focus and functional approach to breeding Angus cattle.

Turning data into dollars at Gilmandyke

"We try to breed what we think is a functional Angus and the goal is to see our clients benefit from the hard work we are putting in.

"To us, they have got to have a bit of scale, because at the end of the day we still get paid on kilograms and need a frame to hang some meat on.

"Females in a breeding program are your bread and butter so we really focus hard on getting our females right," Wade said.

Gilmandyke will offer 90 stud bulls and 140 tested-in-calf heifers at their on-property sale on 25th August at Kangaroobie, featuring the first sons of Dunoon Prime Minister.

For more information contact Wade Peatman on 0429 145 926 or at wade@gilmandykeangus.com.au.