For the past two years, Shaun Beasley has been using select genetics to rebuild his Angus herd, post-drought.
He has focussed on retaining heifers and managing a young herd of cows.
Shaun and Maria Beasley join 1300 cows and 450 heifers in a split-calving system, on their dryland properties Emu Park and Delvine Park at Lindenow South, in Victoria.
The Angus herd grazes alongside 18,000 Merino sheep, at a 40,000 dry sheep equivalent stocking rate.
Mr Beasley sold most of his cows during the drought, beginning with older cows and keeping heifers.
"During the drought I sold all the spring calving herd, and kept a nucleus of the autumn calvers," he said.
"Post-drought, I've rebuilt using that nucleus herd and by keeping my heifers."
His herd age averages 3.5 years.
"My intention is to continue to keep all the heifers and keep the herd age down.
"You can sell 6- to 7-year-old cows in calf for reasonable money."
For the previous two years Mr Beasley has used Hazeldean genetics and this year is using Landfall genetics in his herd rebuild.
He selects for breeding based on highly heritable traits using EBVs.
"I choose bulls on scrotal size, 400- and 600-day weights, meat yield, birth weight, fertility, docility and mature cow weight.
"They're all highly heritable traits.
"There are three rules in beef production - fertility, fertility and fertility."
Half the herd of breeding cows and 200 heifers are joined from June 1 for a tight six week mating period.
The heifers in this mob are in a fixed time AI program, then run with the bulls.
This is the first year the Hazeldean bloodline heifers are being joined, and Mr Beasley said the average in-calf rate among heifers across both herds was 90 per cent.
The cows are naturally mated.
Half the cow herd and 250 heifers are naturally joined from October 1, also for a six week mating period.
Heifers are joined at 15-months-old, but are weighed at 12mo to check their growth rate.
"We join our heifers above 340kg, that's a critical mating weight for us.
"Cows are pregnancy tested when the calves are weaned."
This season, cows across both herds averaged an in-calf rate of 95 per cent.
Heifers and cows that scan empty are turned off and sold at the East Gippsland Livestock Exchange, at Bairnsdale, or directly over the hooks.
The autumn calves are yard weaned in early January, aimed at turning off steers at nine-months-old, weighing 300kg-plus, into the late January feature sale at Bairnsdale.
The spring-drop calves are yard weaned in early April. Again the focus is a feature sale at Bairnsdale, later in April.
After weaning, any underweight heifers might also be drafted off and sold in those upcoming weaner sales.