AMERICAN ANGUS BLOODLINES SUIT THE SOUTH ISLAND HIGH COUNTRY
BY PAT DEAVOLL
There’s an old adage among cattle farmers that goes like this: “90 per cent feeding, 10 per cent breeding makes the cow”.
But ask South Canterbury’s Blue Cliffs Station manager, Tim Morrow, and he’ll tell you a different story.
“With our cattle, it’s more 50:50,” he says. “Breeding plays an integral part.”
It wasn’t always like that. Back in 2001, when “big is beautiful” was the cattle mantra, Morrow says his 490 angus breeding cows were “leggy, shallow-gutted, slow-maturing and high maintenance.” The incidence of dry cows was up to 8 per cent some years. Bulls were bred on farm with the odd sire sourced elsewhere.
All this changed in 2002 when, in an effort to improve production, Morrow looked at bulls from a number of prominent breeders. He settled for “Kakahu Angus”.
“Kakahu Angus seemed to be upfront in their breeding programme and believed in estimated breeding values (EBVs) as a basis for measuring the progress of their stud.”
Others advised him to stick with the NZ bloodlines. They considered American bloodlines unsuitable for New Zealand’s environment. This proved untrue.
“Our breeding cows have turned out to be good movers; they stride out like great walking stock horses. They’re run at 25ha per cow on country not dissimilar to the landscape in America where their sires were sourced.”
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