BREEDING PHILOSOPHY – BACKING OUR STATEMENTS WITH SCIENCE
We believe that cows in the high country should be of medium build with strong structural soundness, active and with good temperament. The only way to run cattle economically is to have them to suit the conditions. I want them to live a long time and produce good even calves every year without needing any pampering. The same goes for sires. A big cow needs more feed and in a bad year will suffer more than the medium one. She will take longer to recover and will have less chance of getting back in calf. Kakahu cows always bounce back in the early spring after a hard winter. They get back in calf and are fat by the midsummer.
Our herd had been predominantly New Zealand for many years however in 1999 I realized that if Kakahu Angus was to produce cattle to suit the modern requirements, the obvious thing to do was to go where the largest population of Angus in the world are registered and recorded annually. After all, I wanted to combine a lot of diverse traits and this could only be done by selecting from a large population. Hence my annual trips to America and Australia to select proven bulls to use in the Kakahu Angus Stud because Angus can adapt well in all environments.
As modern stud breeders, we combine EBVs with genomic testing to give us a higher degree of accurate estimation on how an animal is going to breed. Progeny testing in Australia and New Zealand are scientific proof that EBVs work. Our clients do our progeny testing for us too, as more and more are successfully getting steers away early and meeting premium grades on a consistent basis. EBVs are an accurate means of measuring genetic trends, taking us forward, and with us, our clients.
For instance, we want calves that are born easily and go on to grow at the rate of knots. We mate our yearling heifers and expect them to calve with ease to medium birth weight bulls with high calving ease and low gestation EBVs.
We select sires that will produce calves to grow quickly after that easy calving. Our herd is average in Australasia for 200DW, 400DW and 600DW, well above the average herd in New Zealand. We weigh our cows every weaning as well as body scoring them, and have done for years. Combine the weight EBVs with the very important trait of Mature Cow Weight where our herd is significantly lower than the 600DW and we have bulls to produce fast growing cattle from medium framed easy calving cows. Exactly what the commercial man wants to make the job pay!
KAKAHU FOLLOWS A VERY CONSISTENT BREEDING PROGRAMME. IN THE LAST THREE YEARS WE HAVE ONLY MATED HEIFERS THAT HAVE BEEN IN THE TOP 25% FOR API. ALL ARE ABOVE AVERAGE FOR EASE OF CALVING INDEX. ANNUALLY, APPROXIMATELY 30% OF THE SALE BULLS ARE FROM OUR FIRST CALVING TWO YEAR-OLD HEIFERS.
Link through to graphs below to compare Kakahu Angus herd vs Australasian Breed average.
BENCHMARK PROGRAMME UPDATE
AI RESULTS FOR KAKAHU MISSION 57% CONCEPTION RATE FOR PREGNANCY
- We breed cows that milk well, with correct udders.
- Bulls must have normal sized testicles.
- Dry cows are culled.
- The period between calving and the following mating is expected to be short. Late calving cows are not wanted.
The average day of calving drives profitability
Any stud breeder must go with the times. We are breeding cattle for the international meat market and as such must endeavour to breed meat that suits the butchers, the supermarkets and the consumer.
We aim to breed the elite carcase animals.
- The heavier the carcase weight (CW) the more meat and the more you are paid by the butcher.
- We scan young animals annually and cull any with poorly shaped eye muscle area (EMA) and anywhere the measurement is too small.
- We aim to breed average fat EBVs, not so high that a lot is lost by being cut off unwanted, but enough to get a cow through the winter and get back into calf. In fact too much fat is unprofitable and inefficient.
- IMF is the marbling that gives flavour and tenderness to the meat. We continually target sires to produce superior marbling, working on bringing up the levels of IMF in our herd overall.
- Kakahu aims to have mature cow weight below 400dw. Carcase weight close to mature cow weight. This equals efficiency and profit = environmentally sustainable.
Our aim is to have even traits throughout the Kakahu cow herd. A glance at our indexes for the bulls in the sale mobs for 2017 shows how powerful the bulls are this year. CLICK HERE FOR THE BULL’S EBVS 2017.
We put our sale catalogue online annually. The link to it will be added closer to the sale date. Look for it around April-May annually.
Gerald likens our catalogue to a road map, where you can plot the track you want to take, using the paths that suit you specifically. So long as you know where you are going you will reach your target.
ANGUS SELF REPLACING INDEX
A self-replacing index estimates the genetic differences between animals in net profitability per cow joined for an example commercial herd (self replacing herd run in a temperate environment) in which some females are retained for breeding and surplus females, along with all males, are slaughtered. Steers are assumed marketed at 525 kg live weight (280 kg carcase weight and 10 mm fat depth) at 16 months of age.
ANGUS PURE INDEX
The AngusPure Index estimates the genetic differences between animals in net profitability per cow joined for an example commercial herd (self replacing herd run in a temperate environment) in which some females are retained for breeding and surplus females, along with all males, are slaughtered. Steers are assumed marketed at 565 kg live weight (300 kg carcase weight and 10 mm fat depth) at 20 months of age with a significant premium paid for marbling.
- We are selectively using global genetics, bulls of medium size with correct structure and temperament with top carcase traits over our herd of NZ cows.
- We run our cattle under commercial conditions
- We guarantee our bulls for soundness and feet.