Producers have been encouraged to consider improvements to their cow herd to better drive efficiencies as part of a series of workshops offered by Meat & Livestock Australia.
Workshop presenter Alastair Rayner, Rayner Ag, said many operations focused on their bulls, but tightening up joining periods and improving fertility was an area that was often overlooked.
Mr Rayner said the BredWell FedWell program had been around for about 15 years but had recently been reviewed to include new research and innovations.
The workshop was hosted by Justin and Amy Dickens of JAD Agriculture in Yeoval. It was initially scheduled for one day, but demand warranted a second workshop.
Mr Rayner said the workshop helped producers come away with some clear focus points that were relevant to their operation.
"A lot of people who come to these workshops have probably got a lot of ideas in their mind about what they want to do but often it's not in a clear format," he said.
"We want people to start to think about fitness for their farm, fitness for purpose, and fitness for market.
"How their animals meet those requirements is really that interaction between how well they choose their genetics and how well they feed."
It was important for producers to identify whether improvements needed to come from genetic adjustments, feeding, or management.
Another part of the workshop involved reshaping producers' understanding of their calendar of operations and how that aligned with their seasonal feed program.
While many people focused on the price of bulls, it was important to recognise there were other factors that contributed towards financial performance, he said.
In many cases, the cow herd was overlooked.
"When you actually break down any enterprise - the data consistently shows this - fertility drives production," he said.
"Kilos of beef is really what we should be focusing on in any enterprise.
"You can invest an awful lot in a bull, but if you're still not achieving your kilos of beef per hectare because your fertility rates are low, because you manage your cows not to your season or your seasonal feed curves, then you're failing to capture that full benefit of the genetics you've invested in.
"But equally, if you're not investing in genetics but you've got a cow herd that's humming along, you could do better."
Beef enterprises relied on females producing a calf every year and the real efficiencies could be gained by focusing on the cow herd, he said.
"How do you get those first calf heifers to be back into calf? How do we set a cow up so she's productive for her entire lifetime?" That's really fundamental to any efficient program," he said.
Mr Rayner said optimising joining periods was an area that many producers could target.
Research had shown heifers that conceived in their first cycle were more likely to continue to get in calf early, while those that took two or three cycles to conceive continued that pattern.
Setting them up to conceive the first time involved ensuring they were at an optimum weight, which was roughly 65 per cent of the mature cow herd weight, he said. Good management during and after calving was also essential.
"There's a direct correlation between how efficient your heifer management is and the money you make," he said.
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