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Click here for our herd assessment report - October 2012

Delft has a tremendous Simbra Stud. The quality of the Delft Simbra Stud is reflected by three achievements:

  • The improvement of their herd EBV’s and the EBV’s of their current stud Sires. This achievement is also reflected in their Economic Index Values.

  • The uniformity (phenotype) of their breeding has improved tremendously and most suited for their environment and management style. 

  • The success of their first three production sales. The average price of cattle sold was better than the breed average. Our weaners sold to feedlots have also increased on average by 15 Kg per head.

Delft uses Ian Currin as their consultant and acknowledges the huge contribution made by Ian to the success of Delft’s cattle division. 

Many people have asked about the role of a consultant in a stud and hence Delft wishes to share with you what Ian Currin brings to the table as their consultant.

Delft Simbra Stud Strategy and Breed Objectives

Ian assisted with the determination of a clear strategy for the Simbra Breed and then our stud strategy within this breed. He worked closely with us to establish our breeding objectives within our environment and management style.

Because of his experience, exposure to so many herds and his dedicated life as a cattleman he also added value in terms of marketing and the establishment of markets for the future type animal Delft will breed.

Ian is also not reluctant to part with his immense pool of knowledge and is eager to transfer his skills to his client base.

Evaluation of our breeding herd

With our Stud Strategy and Breeding Objectives in place our breeding herd is evaluated, different aspects of each and heifer are scored eg. Simbradex, ICP, calves weaned and calves retained. Each animal is then compared to its peers. The EBV’s of each animal is also considered to determine which animals are retained in the herd.

The most suited bull or bulls to mate each cow to is also identified, using all data available egg, breeding history, EBV’s, pedigree and phenotype.

This process seems to be rather time consuming. Ian has however got the ability and experience to see past the current condition of each animal and to visualise a young heifer as a cow.

At Delft we wish to breed red animals with a blaze. An animal that is not red but falls within our Delft type and has good EBV’s will be retained if such a cow shows potential to breed red offspring. Black, grey and mottled animals are culled.

Once the field work is done we study the calving history of each cow and the quality calves produced by the cow.

Infertility is not tolerated at all. It is however important not to cull outstanding cows where their infertility is attributable to bad management or the impotency of a bull. It is therefore important to keep accurate records of such events. 

Evaluation of Weaners

Ultimately the success of the processes applied above must reflect in the quality of the offspring. Each and every weaner is evaluated and scored. Animals falling outside our type or just plain poor are investigated. Ian attempts to find the reason for these deviations. Is it the incorrect mating? What has the cow bred before? Can it be attributed to the bull? Etc.

It is interesting how you notice if the weaners on average are better that their dams. The runts stand out between the improved animals, are investigated and culled. Exceptional animals are also taken note of. If the mating worked repeat it.

Evaluating the dams and weaners also provides information and data to evaluate the bulls.

As an accredited consultant of the Simmentaler and Simbra Society Ian does the standard “inspections” at the same time. This alleviates the necessity for the society to incur duplicated costs to send a Technical Advisor to the inspections.

 Evaluation of Stud Sires and Sale Bulls        

The Stud Sires are scored in terms of their suitability for Delft’s breeding objectives, cow herd and their performance within the herd. In the process Ian also becomes aware of our bull requirements and will advise us when such a bull comes into the market, hence our huge investment in bulls that will meet our customer’s requirements.

The sale bulls are inspected on every visit and thoroughly scrutinised. Care is taken to ensure that each bull sold by Delft will add value to the buyers herd. We have set high standards, so only a small percentage of bulls bred by Delft so far have made the grade. The young bull calves though, are very promising at this stage.

Evaluation of Administration

The whole process requires that your paperwork must be up to date and accurate. However hard you try you are going to find some conflicting information. At times we err in submitting the correct info to the society and, with exception; the Breed Society makes a mistake.

During the discussions with Ian you will become aware of the standard of your administration, and acutely aware of your own involvement and knowledge of your herd.

Stud breeding is a hands on thing, you have to be on top of it, or you will need a good manager.

Overall assessment

All set and done Ian departs home where he spends hours analysing the data and addressing problems that were identified during his visit. He also doe the paper work required by the Breed Society and will even do more, administratively, if you so require.

A few days later a report arrives inclusive of many supporting schedules and recommendations. We cannot tell you in words the value of this rapport. Compliments are given where deserved; many recommendations and also constructive criticism are given where necessary.

More important though the report assesses your current position, reflects your progress made and serves as your road map for the year ahead.

At Delft we can now state that our herd strategy is documented, our key success factors identified and our work plan for the next year in place.

The outcome of this process outweighs the cost of the consultant hundred fold.

 

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