You’ve got the right bull; now let’s talk cows.
Whangara Stud Cows and Heifers are bred for improvement. Our continual aim is Carcase Traits at our above breed average, with an Angus Pure A or A+ grading. Every Whangara stud cow or heifer also shows excellent growth EBVs, good maternal traits and size, weight and condition phenotypes. After all, you only get great bulls by using outstanding cows.
What that means for you
Identifying top performers in our herd means Whangara can breed for the best possible progeny, which in turn will lift the performance of any commercial farmer’s herd.
Non-performers are culled to maintain an excellent level of herd fertility, while a greater selection of replacement heifers is in place because of the lift in performance.
The Facts on Herd Improvement
We put our very best bull genetics into the bottom end of cows to lift female herd performance. All of our work goes into female herd improvement; the sale bulls are the by-product of this investment.
Whangara Angus are boosting female numbers and retaining more heifers enabling us to cull older genetics that don’t perform to brand. Like everything we do here, we are moving towards culling by data.
Heifer Mating Programmes
Our Heifer Mating programme lets us keep a very keen eye on fertility and herd Brand guidelines. By culling out animals that don’t make the grade, we’re also able to generate extra income for the business.
How we do it:
At first BVD – 8 Weeks prior to mating – heifers are selected for mating based on weight and condition. Over 300kg for stud heifers, although sometimes as low as 280kg dependent on size and condition. In our commercial heifer mob, anything over 280kg is good to go.
Heifers are set stocked on the flats in early winter and offered hay as a supplement. Our heifers are priority-fed and weighed once a month.
The heaviest cut of heifers (those above 320 kg) become apart of the Whangara synchronised Artificial Insemination programme. All heifers that don’t make this selection go to the bull.
BULL SELECTION CRITERIA
Whangara Angus have been heifer mating for 20+ years, and have been able to make decisions based on data and facts available to us as Stud Breeders. Those facts in turn are based purely on our programme and cattle and don’t by any means recommend it to farmers new to heifer mating.
We have been trialing a slight increase in birth weight of bulls to heifers. This maximum birth weight has increased from +3.5 to +4.2 over the last two years, giving us bigger calves to grow on that will meet our branded programme.
Things we’ve learned doing it:
- A heifer’s condition has a much more positive effect on in-calf rates than weight does;
- Yard weaning helps quieten the heifers; temperament is key to success.
- Heifers need to be on priority feeding prior to mating.
- Our focus on growth traits has seen our females mature earlier and our in calf rates rise.
- Success in heifer mating is very seasonally dependent
Autumn Mating Mob
The Whangara LBW programme is in its early stages. The aim of this programme is:
- To breed purely to produce progeny with a birth weight of +3.5 or less.
- This is an A.I (artificial insemination) programme; all returned animals have been artificially inseminated again and then followed up by the bull.
- This programme is solely based on producing low birth weight, however throughout the AI programme we use top genetics with a long-term plan of low birth weight animals with the carcase traits that meet bred for better beef.