Beef 2024 Report

CPC’s Troy Setter provides a checklist for bull breeders looking to sell bulls into the north

Beef Central, 13/05/2024

THROUGHOUT Beef 2024, there was a consistent theme based on capturing and growing the opportunities to improve beef production, often using well established practices and technologies.

While there were many new developments presented in genetics seminar sessions, more frequently the information presented was demonstrations of how existing technology continues to underpin efficient and productive beef enterprises.

And in the context of northern production systems, the scale of many of the enterprises means that even small improvements within a system can result in significant enterprise and industry gains.

As part of the industry information sessions, Angus Australia hosted a seminar focussing on the role the breed can play in northern production systems. The sessions keynote speakers Ian McLean from Bush Agribusiness, Ben Noller from Palgrove and Troy Setter from Consolidated Pastoral Co.

All three offered practical examples of the use of existing technology, particularly how planned crossbreeding can have impact on lifting productivity and ultimately enterprise profitability.

In the case of the CPC operations, Troy Setter used data collected across the company’s enterprises showing performance of the 100pc Bos Indicus herd the company operated ten years ago was characterised by heifers calving at three years of age, with only 74pc of the heifers that did conceive actually rearing a calf to weaning.

Through management changes, including controlled joining and the use of planned crossbreeding, the CPC data showed that the F1 Brahman x Angus heifers had a weaning rate of 92pc, compared to Brahman heifers joined in the same controlled method that achieved an 85pc weaning rate.

Mr Setter said management changes such as controlled mating did result in improvements to conception and weaning rate, however unlike genetic selection, management changes are neither permanent, not cumulative. Utilising genetic improvement instead offered greater and more permanent improvements.

Much of the success of crossbreeding programs comes not simply from the effect of hybrid vigour.  To ensure programs are as successful as possible, there is a clear requirement to select and use genetics that are of highest possible merit and are well described with EBVs and supported with genomic information.

Additionally Mr Setter offered advice to Angus breeders hoping to target bulls towards northern producers.

Troy Setter’s key points for bulls for the north

Mr Setter emphasised the need for bull breeders to consider the needs of northern herds and in particular the goal of identifying and selecting those females that were able to conceive earlier and at lighter weights. Late maturity patterns resulted in larger cattle that have difficulty in achieving the fertility goals essential for northern programs.

He also emphasised the importance of prepuce and sheath in bulls that were destined to be used in Bos Indicus herds. Mr Setter noted that bulls with noticeable prepuce, and particular lines with this trait created greater issues in tropical herds than may be the case in southern British based herds.

This, along with coat and hair type are some of the significant traits that can result in poor performance which may not always be fully appreciated by many southern bull-breeders.

“Truthfulness and honesty is essential in describing cattle for any systems, let alone northern programs,” he said.

Using the example of a bull that was described as “slick coated and suitable for the north,” Mr Setter described the subsequent unsuitability of the bull for northern production systems, citing susceptibility to parasites and heat along with subsequent poor performance as a sire.

“Not only does this impact on our expectations, but it also leads to a significant loss of trust” he said.



Alastair Rayner is the Principal of RaynerAg, an agricultural advisory service based in NSW.  RaynerAg is affiliated with BJA Stock & Station Agents.  He regularly lists and sell cattle for clients as well attending bull sales to support client purchases.  Alastair provides pre-sale selections and classifications for seedstock producers in NSW, Qld, and Victoria.  He can be contacted here or through his website









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  1. Val Dyer, 13/05/2024

    Whilst Troy Setter tried really hard to show the benefits of Angus infusion into Northern cattle herds, the reality is that Brahmans may deliver less calves, by managing the environment, whilst British breeds cannot cope.

    The investment in introducing Bos Taurus in the tropical north is arguably greater than any gains.

    Horses for courses.

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