Driven by profit

Our program is driven by the traits that drive profit. The key influencers are fertility, calving ease, weight gain and carcase quality. Other areas of focus in our program are conformation/structure and temperament. It’s all very well to mention these things, it’s another to deliver them. That takes a thoughtful plan and the dedication to accomplish it.

We start with strong cow families. All our females are from families that produce short calving intervals, calve regularly, and can hold their place in a program. A tremendous amount of research has gone into establishing our base herd, as I believe great bulls come from great female lines. All progeny we produce are performance recorded, scanned for carcase traits and independently assessed for structure and temperament. If an individual doesn’t measure up, as the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld would tell us, “No Soup For You!”

We aim to be balanced and holistic in the approach to matings. We assess structure, breeding records, pedigrees, and data before deciding on a mating. We are not trying to shoot the lights out with any one trait, we are trying to produce balanced, productive, profitable animals. We manage inbreeding coefficients while using tried and tested breeding theories to produce the best for our clients.

All sires used are performance recorded. They have either been measured themselves in a contemporary group, or have progeny that have been assessed across multiple herds. Many of the sires we use are also tested in commercial herds that give us valuable feedback on traits like calving ease, feed efficiency, retail beef yield and MSA grading. Our program is too valuable to risk on the unknown and we believe yours is as well.

“Reproductive performance is a key determinant of profitability in a beef cattle enterprise.”
– Southern Beef Technology Services

There is no getting around the fact that fertility and calving ease are among the biggest influences on the bottom line. High conception rates and high birth rates are an absolute must in a profitable beef enterprise.

At Te Mooi we select for early sexual maturity, good scrotal size, ease of calving and the ability to get back into calf quickly. To this end, we measure age at sexual maturity, gestation length and days to calving as well as assessing calving ease and calf vitality. Temperament and structure also influence fertility, so we are strict with our assessment and management of both.

If you want to add marbling, you need to be sure the sire you select can deliver. That’s why we not only scan, weigh and record, but we also only use performance recorded sires in our program.

Marbling is one of those glorious ‘free traits’. It doesn’t consume resources to produce it, but you get a premium price when you do.

MLA report that, “Marbling is a key specification of carcase value in many of our high quality beef markets, particularly grain fed carcases for hospitality or export markets such as Japan.”

Marbling generally improves the eating experience and consumers are demanding more marbled beef, so we aim to produce the genetic tools so that our clients can provide it.

Improving retail beef yield is another of the “free traits” that doesn’t soak up resources. It’s a basic efficiency, producing more valuable product from the same inputs.

Maximising Retail Beef Yield requires animals to have a good level of muscle with an adequate amount of fat coverage which can meet the requirements of the target market. Lightly muscled and overfat cattle tend to have lower Retail Beef Yields.

We strive for this balance in our program while making sure our growth rates are able to meet the specifications of the premium long feed markets.

Poor temperament is costly to the bank balance as well as the wellbeing of man and beast. From time to time my loved ones spend time in the yards, as I’m sure yours do. Their safety is paramount, so we select for only the best temperament. Carcase weight, marble scores, and MSA grading fail to matter if someone is in hospital.

There is no better free trait than temperament. Not only are quieter animals easier to handle, they perform better in a host of areas – from weight gain to eating quality, and even fertility.

“Selecting cattle to improve temperament can benefit beef production and animal performance, in addition to improving animal welfare and human safety. Beef CRC research found favourable genetic and phenotypic relationships between temperament and meat quality, feedlot performance, ease of transport and some reproductive traits indicating that selection to improve temperament will also result in genetic improvements in these traits.’
– Future

The CSIRO found that better temperamented animals gain up to 0.38 kilograms per day while in feedlot conditions when compared with animals with poorer temperament.

Professor Reinaldo Cooke from Oregon State University found that cattle with acceptable temperament (classed with a docility score of 1-3 out of 5) in general had higher levels of conception, calving and weaning.

Structure, like temperament, has a far reaching impact on the profitability of an enterprise. It influences longevity, the value of surplus stock, growth rates, conception rates and weaning rates. High cull rates on structure also reduce the selection pressure for other economically important traits and can reduce the overall performance of the herd. The structure of bulls has also been found to have a significant impact on fertility.

Research conducted at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences found that that subfertility in bulls may be due to subclinical lameness (Reference: Persson, Söderquist and Ekman 2007).

An auction market study in the Western USA found lameness in 15% of beef bulls offered for sale. Other investigations have shown that as cattle are relatively stoic animals, they often do not show lameness until significant pathology is present, and this impacts fertility and conception rates.