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 A road less travelled?

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Grassfarmer



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PostSubject: A road less travelled?   Sat Jan 18, 2014 2:19 pm

Or maybe it should just be a "guess the breed" title?







Maybe once you see the females it becomes clearer?





Yep, these are some of the few Red Angus in Scotland. They seemed to have changed on their travels from the old country to North America and back, maybe they had a stop over in the Limousin region of France?
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pukerimu



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PostSubject: Re: A road less travelled?   Sat Jan 18, 2014 8:13 pm

I believe the blacks in Scotland have gone down the "big is best" route that the rest of the world have backed off from long ago - any coincidence that Breedplan recently introduced - but all I can see with the red photos (apart from the European look to the bulls) is OMG look at the feet on the haltered bull  Shocked   affraid   - do you know how old he is - my guess is yearling????  That is a head off job right there as far as we would be concerned - not only him, his dam, his sire and anything that is remotely related - I can't take my eyes off that front foot - something once seen never again not seen - thanks for sharing
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Grassfarmer



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PostSubject: Re: A road less travelled?   Sat Jan 18, 2014 9:29 pm

Pretty much every breed in Scotland has gone down the "big is best" route. Not that different here - lots of talk of "moderate" size seed stock selection but the commercial reality is somewhat different. I watched some Simmental/Red Angus cows sell the other day - bred cows - after an overnight stand weighing 1790lbs Shocked Probably 1900lbs+ when filled out on farm - the product of selection for "moderate"?

I thought the bulls feet were about a match for the hip/back leg structure on the last heifer. That is something they seem to have forgotten about since their move to big assed cattle. Huge ass, small back feet, up on tippy toes is not conducive to mobility.
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PostSubject: Re: A road less travelled?   Sat Jan 18, 2014 9:59 pm

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Grassfarmer



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PostSubject: Re: A road less travelled?   Sat Jan 18, 2014 10:08 pm

I rest my case  Laughing 
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pukerimu



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PostSubject: Re: A road less travelled?   Sat Jan 18, 2014 11:20 pm

Haha too funny with Kim - won't be rushing off to Scotland anytime soon for seedstock then - interestingly enough from what I have read it is the Scottish Charolais breeders who are most concerned where the new fads of breeding (Breedplan is mentioned specifically) are taking their herds and are not afraid to say it - perhaps there is a silent majority of Scottish Angus breeders who are "keeping calm and carrying on" - for their breed's sake we hope so  
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PostSubject: Re: A road less travelled?   Sun Jan 19, 2014 1:07 am

Twisted Evil Twisted Evil 
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MKeeney
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PostSubject: Re: A road less travelled?   Sun Jan 19, 2014 9:19 am

Are these type changes in response to consumer demand, or just registered breeders changing what they have the most of into what there is less of?
Megan,
Is there a breeder in new Zealand that emphasizes a maternal priority or is the cow a by product of selection for beef ?
Is cross breeding used heavily in commercial herds? Crossbreed cows?
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Grassfarmer



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PostSubject: Re: A road less travelled?   Sun Jan 19, 2014 10:14 am

MKeeney wrote:
Are these type changes in response to consumer demand, or just registered breeders changing what they have the most of into what there is less of?

Consumer demand in Europe has largely been for lean red meat with no visible fat since the late 80's stoked by the health advice of the day that fat=bad. Hence the Limo type influence which has driven the market ever since. The vast majority of beef in countries like the UK is retailed through supermarkets like here in N America but in some rural areas and in richer urban areas there are still butcher shops that really know beef and prefer a product with some fat/marbling. It seems these guys are struggling for supply now as evidenced by the story below. Farmers are up in arms about imports flooding their market and lowering their prices while butchers are saying they can't buy the quality they want at home so need to import.

http://www.thescottishfarmer.co.uk/business-sales/trendsprices/beef-brands-devalued.23197748

Long and short of it I think breeders there have responded to majority customer demand but in the process they have turned their seedstock into the image of the finished terminal steer.
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PostSubject: Re: A road less travelled?   Sun Jan 19, 2014 10:28 am

When demand changes require type change, the reasonable thing would be to change breeds...but breed associations thrive on change. Measuring the change keeps them relevant ....
But Iain, your association doesn't measure change....are you growing in numbers registered in Canada ? Does it matter?
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Grassfarmer



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PostSubject: Re: A road less travelled?   Sun Jan 19, 2014 1:38 pm

No we don't measure change in our breed. Instead I spend quite a bit of time explaining to people why they shouldn't use Luing bulls on Luing cows for efficient beef production. I promote the use of crossbreeding and using terminal sire breeds like Charolais in our breed literature. We are finding plenty demand for our cattle and these ideas among commercial producers.
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pukerimu



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PostSubject: Re: A road less travelled?   Sun Jan 19, 2014 2:31 pm


Megan,
Is there a breeder in new Zealand that emphasizes a maternal priority or is the cow a by product of selection for beef ?
Is cross breeding used heavily in commercial herds? Crossbreed cows?[/quote]

Morning - this is all from my perspective - NZ has seen a huge swing back to angus cattle - the members of our association who promote the carcase cattle from the US and Australia are totally confident in their belief it is due to the demand for Angus beef - there is a distinct element to this however there is also a bit of history.

Traditionally there were two breeds of beef cattle in NZ - Angus and Hereford - Ang/Here cows were very popular with most farmers and the most commonly seen cow was black with splashes of white - especially on the face. Enter the consultants who advised farmers to get rid of their maternal cows and use Hereford/Friesian (I know ..........what were they thinking???) jocolor  as the dairy industry was growing and there was a need to utilise the by-product - many did, and then put Charolais or Simmental over these high milking cows and sold enormous weaners in the fairs - to be finished on grass and an important note here is that apart from one maybe two commercial feedlots in NZ the success or failure of a farming year depends entirely on the rain that falls from the sky, the cash available for fertiliser and the grass that grows. Obviously NZ enjoyed several good years and when we took over the stud in '97 we saw our historical client list decimated as people went to this new fad. Obviously the larger established Angus registered breeders meanwhile were "breeding 'em big with as much milk as possible" to counter this culture - we were fortunate at the time to be farming rough, broken and wet country where the large framed cows would never do so kept moderation - high milk had never appealed to us and the main (meaty, perfect feet, gentle disposition) bull we were using at the time was a negative EBV for milk - hadn't mattered before the +24's came into the country but we weren't about to stop using him on a whim of other people.

Prices plummeted, the cost of fertiliser sky rocketed and drought hit for several years ........... can you imagine the carnage amongst the here/fries cows? There has been a massive swing back to traditional beef cows to the point that most of the young registered Charolias herds have dispersed and the colour of the countryside is black - yes - the demand for angus beef has changed the colour of the cows but Herefords are still selling very well also, as many astute farmers use cross breeding. Firstly and fore-mostly NZ farmers are stockmen and they make their judgements based on what works for them - apparently Angus cows are ticking their boxes at the moment.

The cow is a very important component in most farmers plan - much of the beef cow country in NZ is now high and you cannot ride a 4 wheeler over it much less a tractor to deliver winter supplements - the cows are left to their own devices and calved when the grass starts to grow in spring - much of the NZ country where break feeding and supplementing was a major part of the operation has been taken over as dairying or dairy support so the beef cows are pushed further and further into the rugged country. They are used as a clean up tool - to eat the long stuff left behind by the ewes and prepare pasture for the spring flush for lambs to be weaned onto.

The NZ Angus association has two clear factions - those who are breeding for beef, are heavy users and promoters of EBV's, especially carcase, view those who don't as ignorant and see the cow as a by- product. Others who have never lost sight of the fact that the cow is queen, are generally unhappy with the cattle that result from seeking the best EBV's, have moved as fast as they can back to moderation, and continue to breed bulls that breed both maternal cows and apparently keep their buyer clients happy with the quality of the steers etc which result from their breeding programmes. I don't think I need to say which camp we are in  Wink 
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PostSubject: Re: A road less travelled?   Sun Jan 19, 2014 7:34 pm

Megan,
Do most all the commercial herds in NZ have organized breeding and production programs? Beef production in my part of the US is secondary, not to sheep production, but to a job in town; farming part time...many of these herds have no organized breeding program; more mongrelized...bulls are bought cheap; even at the 1 stockyards; 2 cheap registered breeders a step up {perhaps}, and then guys like me; 3 just a notch above cheap, cheap  Smile  then the multipliers of popularity {this includes some 2  Smile }, then the AI Elite {this includes some 2 as well  Smile } and finally the popular , trendsetter registered herds

Everything I see about NZ shows the commercial herds to be results of breeding programs; even if we disagree with direction...many herds here are based on notions, instead of planning...do you have much of that in NZ?...surely that aspect of human nature exists there as well?


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PostSubject: Re: A road less travelled?   Mon Jan 20, 2014 12:14 am

Pretty much all farmers that have continued with their beef cows are full time farmers with sheep being a major part of their operations - the breeding cow herds are usually large - up to 2000 cows would be considered large, 4 - 10,000 very large - often that size operation and number of cows are spread over several properties with individual Managers with a team of shepherds on each.  There would be very few commercial farmers (Owners and managers) with breeding cows in NZ who do not have clear objectives in their breeding policies - many people who patronise our sale are very particular about their breeding goals and pay close attention to the family lines and yearly performance of our cattle - some keep the catalogues for years to make comparisons and watch the families - we really appreciate their passion as it matches our own - of course there are those for whom any bull in their price range will do and that is their prerogative - our yearly goal is to catalogue an even line which enables people to have several bulls marked in case they are unable to secure their first pick and be just as happy with the one that finally falls to their bid.

The average registered Angus herd in NZ numbers 200 breeding cows which is very large compared to other countries - several of these herds are run in conjunction with commercial breeding cows in large operations.  NZ's oldest registered stud is over 100 years old, several others have recently passed that milestone and many more are middle aged ie 40 years or more.  I hope this gives you a clear picture - there are smaller breeders of course and some that come and go but it is a tough market to break into for reasons stated above that commercial cattlemen have clear objectives and stud's that they feel meet their requirements - it usually takes on going and regular bull disasters, failing quality in their cow herd which can be attributed to a line of cattle, or very bad PR to break the associations.
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PostSubject: Re: A road less travelled?   Mon Jan 20, 2014 4:30 am

Post script - most bulls are sold by registered stud - you have to remember that NZ is a very small country with a couple of major stock firms (agents and auctioneers) which operate from single head offices with branches throughout NZ and they work closely with their registered breeding clients - there are some unregistered bulls sold but they are a very small drop in a very small ocean - unless breeding bulls which are traditionally sold as 2 year olds (the yearling market is growing but generally only as heifer mating specialists) command a substantial premium for the farmer running them, there are much more profitable land uses for an unregistered breeder than carrying bulls through, to maybe, sell for breeding - remembering that they are competing with others who are well established and have a loyal client base.

I don't think we have the hype and glamour of the bull selling arena's that perhaps the US does - most of the people selling are the same as the people buying - farmers subject to fluctuating lamb prices, interest rate hikes and the cost of fertiliser - there are some high priced sales around the place - we were at the sale last year where a bull sold for $75,000 but that is not a common occurrence. There might be one high priced bull a year - to achieve a high price a bull has to have attracted the interest of more than two stud buyers - commercial buyers would never pay that sort of money for a bull - the most successful studs last year averaged in the region of $7 - $10,000
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PostSubject: Re: A road less travelled?   Mon Jan 20, 2014 7:43 am

how much government involvement in farming...beef, sheep, dairy and the major crops...? price supports, insurance, quotas? the marketing system seems quite the contrast...there is about 10 different stockyards within 80 miles, I can sell cattle at any week...Heinz 57 would pale in comparison to type and weight differences...and breed mix...

The pictures of the NZ farming land on your website leaves me envious of Leroy`s travels to NZ...

http://mtmableangus.co.nz/photogallery.html
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PostSubject: Re: A road less travelled?   Mon Jan 20, 2014 12:29 pm

No Government involvement except for law ie Resource Management Act which prohibits any major earth, water works, waste disposal or changes of land use without Resource consent. Local and Regional councils rules and regulations etc - all big stick no carrot in NZ. There are no subsidies or bonuses and no tariffs or duties on imported goods - NZ lead the way in "Free Trade" in the 80's - those farmers left standing became lean and mean - not sure it is the right way as we are very exposed to dollar fluctuations and interest rate movements but it makes anyone on the land a good operator or a "used to be a farmer" - but then so long as you play by the rules no one is telling you how to farm either. Debt levels are the key - low debt equals fabulous opportunities to capitalise on good times - high debt means you are driving a 10 year old vehicle  Sad 

On a good day we live in the best place on the planet - on a bad day she is pretty rugged - when it snows at our place it has usually been freezing rain for several days, big winds with wind chill and then when everything is nicely sodden and already very cold it snows - dry cold is almost unheard of. New Zealand was not called Aotearoa the "land of the long white cloud" by the first Maori settlers for nothing - what the Maori in the canoe's who named it that did not know is it was rain not cloud they were looking at - must have been a rude shock for those first settlers from the tropics
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PostSubject: Re: A road less travelled?   Mon Jan 20, 2014 6:33 pm

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mark-ross/farm-subsidies-new-zealand_b_1680259.html

The removal of farm subsidies in New Zealand gave birth to a vibrant, diversified, and growing rural economy, and it debunked the myth that farming cannot prosper without subsidies. Thus rather than passing another big government farm bill that taxpayers can't afford, the U.S. Congress should step back and explore the proven alternative of free market farming.

# # #

Mark Ross is a general manager of the Federated Farmers of New Zealand, which is New Zealand's leading farm organization. Chris Edwards is editor of the Cato Institute's www.DownsizingGovernment.org.

good ideas; good reading, but you never know until you run it by a real farmer that`s there experiencing it...so sheep are profitable enough more than cattle that they are the priority? or maybe the best utilization of forage with sheep in front?
Megan, Do you breed purebred sheep as well...do registered sheep dominate the seed stock sheep business, or has indexes and composites taken that market as they have swine industry here?
I hope you don`t tire of this barrage of questions, you are our most prolific story teller at the moment... Smile 

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PostSubject: Re: A road less travelled?   Mon Jan 20, 2014 7:01 pm

Megan,
While you're at it here's another question  Smile ...what is the average frame size of your bulls? The pictures of your countryside are simply awesome!
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PostSubject: Re: A road less travelled?   Mon Jan 20, 2014 9:49 pm

At a beach bach at mo so will answer briefly:
Mike the income from sheep and beef about 50/50 bearing in mind that on a property with 1000 breeding cows may have up to ten thous sheep to give you an idea of ratio. Beef very strong at mo - we watching to see what lamb is worth. Our lambs later than many due to climate - late spring storms not rare. Sheep breeds mostly Romney or Perendale (NZ developed breed) most seed stock purebred not all registered. Ours a rom/perendale x. We introduce rams from either breed depending on what balance is needed. Perendale flighty but vigorous lambs. Romney hardy. Was big swing to composites with Finn and Texel for same reason as to Here/Fres cows - big swing back for same reasons. Ram breeders as divided as bull breeders on figures altho SIL (sheep improvement l?) appears to be fairer reflection now after several yrs.

Sorry have historically not framescored. Have nothing to reference back to at mo. If you have seen pic of bull with cap on he is a mid to smaller framed bull as a 2 yr old. The earlier bulls in the catalogue may be 1/2 a foot taller than him but would have same fleshing and depth. There is a photo somewhere on website of Kevin and his hat wearing mate. We did it as a joke after a bull buyer looking at the mob put his cap on him. So much for brief my finger has cramp and my cup of tea gone cold - text typing not a talent of mine Smile
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PostSubject: Re: A road less travelled?   Wed Jan 22, 2014 8:07 am

a funny from Advantage...

can only imagine "the Americanizing of Wagyu sale bulls"...Where else but America would one be able to see 1400 pound, YG 4, groomed for the red carpet, nutrient grown, with calming agents...all...hopefully, Japan Prime Minister...be there...


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PostSubject: Re: A road less travelled?   Sun Jan 26, 2014 10:59 pm

Your comment on Wagyu made me realise I had told fibs Mike - a farming entity has received a large portion of Govt money recently (early last year) - there is a push for Dairy farmers to use Wagyu semen or even maybe service bulls for their herds and the farming entity will purchase and rear the calves to the specifications of their Japanese clients (who may also be business partners???) - we have not been paying as much attention to the proposal as some as our market is not and has never been the dairy cow herds.  I will keep you posted how if I hear anymore snippets about it.
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