THE SGA ADVANTAGE
An integral part of our breeding program is to place commercially relevant pressure on our females to calve unassisted as a two-year-old, get back in calf around 70 days later, wean a seven-month-old calf and continue the same process for many years to come.
A low cost system is important to us, not only for our bottom line, but also to be commercially relevant to our customers. Fertility is so important in a breeding operation and the biggest fallout of unproductive breeders is likely to occur from joining as a yearling to joining as a three-year-old. Therefore, regardless of EBV or pedigree, this process ensures the bulls we sell have generations of proven fertility under a low cost environment.
Some operations like to wean earlier which can allow producers to run higher maintenance cows, but for mine, the weaning weight is the gross return for the capital invested in the cow. Most years we wean at an average age of seven months to aim at an average weaning weight of 270kg-300kg. Our calves are mostly born in late August and September, and by weaning in April it allows time for the cow to build up fat reserves and the weaners adjust to a grass diet before the frosts hit. We also weigh the cows at weaning and ideally we like to see an average weaning weight efficiency around 47%-50% (calf weight/cow weight x 100).
For many years we have been providing the number of calves and average calving interval data for all the mothers of the bulls we sell. This data aims to objectively prove the fertility of our cows.
Our bulls are developed on oats through the winter and leucaena and grass for the rest of the year to ensure they adapt and thrive in their new environments.
By sale time we aim to have our bulls in a presentable condition to adequately show their potential and prepare them for the up-coming joining season without the detrimental effects of overfeeding. Sudden changes in environment and nutrition can affect semen quality and therefore we have found our bull preparation method to be highly beneficial to the longevity of the bulls and the conception rates of the purchasers’ cows. More often than not we hear our bulls keep gaining weight in their new environments as opposed to the ‘let down’ period of overfed bulls.
In particularly dry years we do supplement them to reach the required condition as under conditioned bulls can also negatively affect performance.
We have been performance recording since 1986 and in that time we have aimed to get the balance right between the traits that EBVs do and don’t measure.
EBVs have been a great tool for beef production as they measure most of the important traits. The Angus breed has progressed significantly, and while for many years it was difficult to breed numbers of cattle that excelled for every trait, the gap is now narrowing considerably. Performance has also now shifted so much that high performance does not mean optimum performance and therefore different environments, management and herds will require different levels. Through our years of observation and measurement we have been able to successfully advise customers which levels may suit, so feel free to ask.
As mentioned, EBVs don’t measure every trait and they don’t consistently measure the type of animal many producers have come to appreciate. Nevertheless, one cannot focus solely on type at the risk of jeopardising function. We have certainly experienced good looking cows preg-testing empty and rough looking cows weaning heavy calves and early in calf. Function is a non-negotiable in our herd, with a balance of EBVs and type.
While we aim to be multi-trait, we have aimed to increase marbling as much as we can. We can’t argue that we get paid on weight, and that gross income is largely driven by kg/ha and fertility rates. However, the Angus premium is largely attributed to marbling levels and some Angus cattle are now marbling competitively against Wagyu, with better conversions and growth, and no horns. Technology is rapidly improving and value based marketing is not that far away. Marbling has a distinct premium for the end consumer, because the eating quality improves.
From pedigrees to performance data to vaccinations and breeding soundness, we do our very best to assure all customers that their purchases are true and correct. All seedstock animals are registered with their respective breed societies and we have been utilising Breedplan technology since 1986.
By sale time all bulls are tested free of Pesti virus, blooded for tick fever and vaccinated against vibriosis, 3-day sickness (ephemeral fever), leptospirosis, IBR and 5-in-1. All sale bulls are backed by a three year breeding guarantee (subject to the SGA Guarantee) and to take part in our annual bull sale they must pass a structural soundness, semen and morphology test.
Beef breeding is a slow game and purchasing new bulls is a significant investment both short and long term. That’s why it pays to select seedstock suppliers who are closely aligned to the commercial world, those that measure performance and carry out all the tests and vaccinations to ensure productive progeny from the bulls purchased.
The SGA Guarantee
All Sandon Glenoch sale bulls come with a three year breeding soundness guarantee from the time of sale. Any claim against the breeding ability of any SGA bull purchased must be made in writing and accompanied by a veterinary certificate. All costs shall be borne by the purchaser.
If, during the three years after purchase, an SGA bull becomes infertile, develops premature spiral deviation or breaks down, provided it is not caused by injury or disease contracted after leaving SGA, we will;
(a) replace the bull with as close a match as possible; or
(b) grant a full credit for any purchase at SGA sales.
This is compensated on a pro-rata basis minus any salvage value of your bull. This guarantee is not a life insurance policy. We recommend you insure animals against injury (loss of use) and death.
We wish our bulls do a good job of taking care of your business at joining time and if you have any problems, please contact us.
We do our very best to please our customers and we take a holistic approach to ensure our bulls get the job done and sire the type of progeny required.
We work with a number of producers to help select bulls and also provide recommendations on breeding management. We’ve been breeding bulls for over 40 years and selling to all different parts of the country, and it is this experience that has enabled us to understand the many different environments and management producers work with. Our breeding program is an open book, so we encourage all new and existing customers to inspect our herd and ask any questions. Simply, we aim to deliver bulls that work!