Weekly genetics review: Stud female sales play important revenue role in many seedstock operations

Genetics editor Geoff Phillips, 21/03/2017

WITH commercial females topping the $2000 mark on AuctionsPlus last week (Beef Central March 20) it’s little wonder that stud females are also hot property in the cattle industry.

Selling a few pens of commercial females at a bull sale, or adding some registered females to a bull sale catalogue is becoming more prevalent as seedstock producers seek to boost returns, and buyers expand their herds’ genetic bases.

This week and next, our Weekly Genetics Review looks at some of the issues behind registered female sales in the seedstock industry, and some recent and upcoming examples.

The nation’s largest ever Angus dispersal earlier this month at Chatsworth, Vic, indicated how strong and resilient the registered female market is despite a flood of numbers.

The two-day Coolana Angus Stud female dispersal cleared 820 lots at an average $3276.

Demand was exceptional for spring and autumn calving females while the 16 elite ET donors averaged $5844. Demand faltered only in the 2016 drop heifer section but 194 still averaged $2049, despite running out of buyers.

Another big Angus dispersal kicks off on May 25, but more about how that will unfold and the future plans for Wattletop founder Lock Rogers later in this article.

The best northern rains for some time last week (up to 100mm in some parched areas of Queensland) has boosted saleyard prices in all categories with centres like Warwick, QLD and Tenterfield in northern NSW bouncing back up to the 400c/kg plus levels for young cattle. It’s amazing what some rain can do.

But further north, the Mahony’s Gyranda Santa Gertrudis stud at Cracow in Central Queensland is sticking to its plan of drastically reduce its female herd because of this year’s exceptionally dry conditions.

This Friday (March 24) Gyranda will be offering three decks of young stud Santa heifers on AuctionsPlus. This follows the sale of all cows over 10 years and all commercial breeders. Gyandra’s September 21 sale of 100 bulls will still go ahead.

Nindooinbah Ultrablacks in southern Queensland cancelled its April bull and female sale this year.

“We’re building female numbers, have sold females out of the paddock and have unprecedented demand for bulls,” said manager Nick Cameron. Nindooinbah will offer up to 100 bulls and 200 stud females at its October 12 sale later this year.

Earlier this month, Palgrove Charolais, Dalveen, Qld,showed the way with a registered female only sale that sold 59 lots out of 59 to a top of $13,000 and an average $7342, that included nine semen, embryo and flush lots.

Another Queensland seedstock producer, Ascot Angus and Charolais at Warwick, also offers stud females. At their autumn bull sale this Friday, March 24, the catalogue comprises 50 bulls and 80 registered females.

Last week’s Irelands Angus at Kyeamba in the New South Wales Riverina sold 59 bulls at an average $7087 and the same day sold 350 PTIC commercial heifers to a top of $1980. The heifers grossed more than the bulls.

New role for Wattletop following herd dispersal

As part of a succession strategy, veteran seedstock producers Lock Rogers (pictured below) and family of Guyra, NSW, have decided to disperse their highly-regarded Wattletop Angus herd founded 35 years ago.

Last year the commercially-focussed Wattletop operation sold 109 bulls for a $8257 average at auction and another 50 out of the paddock.

LOCK ROGERS0395 (1)Situated 18km east of Guyra, Wattletop will now be run as a commercial breeding operation by Lock’s daughter Jess MacDougall and her husband Henry, producing terminal F1 Wagyu calves from a herd of 700 Angus breeders.

“We just don’t have the room to run the Angus stud, as that involves a huge amount of stuff besides breeding cattle,” Lock said. “There are also big costs in running a seedstock herd and an annual sale.”

“The F1 Wagyu business has created tremendous demand for Angus females,” he said.

The first part of the Wattletop stud dispersal will be held on May 25 when 270 PTIC breeders will be offered with the second part on March15 2018 when 270 younger cows PTIC and with calves at foot will be offered.

The annual Wattletop bull sale this year is on August 2 when 120 bulls will be offered followed by another 120 bulls in August 2018.

Wattletop is one of the few herds independently classed each year with structure and Breedplan utilised to maintain a herd that “performs in the paddock, in the feedlot, in the chiller and on the plate.”

Dick Whale has been Wattletop’s classer and had given outstanding assistance over many years, Lock said.

Lock has no time for the show ring and believes cattle must be judged on commercial reality.

“I’ve always focused on the positive traits of Angus which include calving percentages, maternal ability and meat quality. We haven’t chased excessive growth or size. If that’s what you want, breed Charolais,” he said.

What’s next for Lock Rogers?

But there is no way this seedstock industry war-horse will be retiring to the coast. In 2005 he purchased another property, Stratton, 24km west of Guyra where the Angus bulls were grown out and sold.

In 1994 he was one of the first to start breeding Wagyu and has been gradually building that part of his business. Since then he has used Wagyu bulls in the commercial herd and as mop-up bulls after ET programs.

“Even in those days I was breeding F1s,” he said.

Stratton will be the home of the expanding Wagyu herd which will grow to 300 registered Fullblood females, producing 100 bulls a year that will be sold out if the paddock, with no plans to hold a Wagyu auction as there is “sufficient demand for Wagyu bulls out there.”

The aim to produce 100 bulls a year is closer than planned due to a male dominated calf drop.

The Wagyu herd is Breedplan recorded. “We were so used to Breedplan in Angus that we just went ahead with Breedplan with our Wagyu,” he said.

The plan is to sell 60 yearling Wagyu bulls a year and 40 two-year-olds for use in mature cow herds.

Lock said he was looking forward to selling his Wagyu bulls out of the paddock. “There is not the expense, the marketing, the preparation and the sale day stress of auction sales,” he said.

Next week: Will look at some of the issues behind registered female sales in the seedstock industry.


Click here to view Beef Central’s exclusive list of registered female breed record prices





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