The Importance of live calves as they say, there is no profit in a dead one. So let’s have them on the ground – alive!

Progeny testing in Australia, New Zealand and America have shown that Estimated Breeding Value predictions with high accuracy are generally what happens. A cow which has good easy calving mated to a bull with good easy calving (CED) is very, very likely to produce a son with good easy calving. Pile this trait on generation after generation and a breeder can mate his heifers with confidence.

It is what every commercial breeder wants and at Kakahu we believe it is up to us the stud breeder to make it happen.

The graphs over the page show the trends for Kakahu over the years for Calving Ease Direct, Daughters, Gestation Length and Birth Weight. These are derived from many measurements done in the paddock. For us measurement is essential.  Otherwise how do you know if you are going forward or backwards?

Accurate mating dates, accurate calving dates so that we can determine gestation length and days between calving and the next mating;  making sure we cull every cow that fails to raise a calf, even if they are born; weighing calves at birth; never giving a bad mother the benefit of the doubt.

Breedplan relies on accurate measurements to be able to produce meaningful information for the breeder.

So much happens in the calving paddock. It is where we get to know our cows ñ the odd silly one, the great old cow that actually stays sitting while the calf is marked – she knows all about it by now – 12 calves in 12 years. Genetic progress is made by turnover, but the solid base of the stud herd comes from those cows that never fail to raise a calf annually, pick up quickly and conceive early. They do it what-ever the weather.

We have been weighing our calves since the 70’s. The trend has been downwards by about 4kgs, and this, with increasing numbers. But calving success in more than just about calving weights. Cows have shorter gestation length now.  Our EBVs for that and for calving ease are far better than the Australasian average. By measuring and using all the data possible we have been able to build up accuracy so that now our birth weight EBVs for instance, are some of the best possible for young cattle.

By using carefully selected bulls, we have been able to maintain low birth and breed calves that grow fast. This is profit for the commercial breeder. If he fattens his own, they go earlier. When he replaces his cows with young heifers, he has more to select from. If he is selling calves in the yard, they look the part on the day, and whatís more the buyer returns annually because they have done well. There is a built in premium here.

It is well worth calving heifers as two year olds. Kakahu has been doing this for years now and in our main sale catalogue, 30% of the bulls offered are out of first calving heifers.  The commercial breeder needs to be able to calve theirs with confidence though, and of course this does not come over night. The cows need to have the basis for easy calving which they will pass on to their offspring. It is a long term plan which will take several generations.

The bulls in this catalogue are in the top 15% in Australasia for calving ease, the top 15% for birth weight whilst maintaining Carcase Weight. The average for their API is $159 which is in the top 10% for New Zealand. This makes them some of the most profitable cattle in New Zealand and in the top 50% for IMF.