Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
Wishing you all a happy and prosperous New Year in 2018. Davo copped a bit of flack for re-using last year's Merry Christmas picture on Facebook - here he is with his best effort this year!
We are very happy to have joined synch'd and inseminated most of the herd to five fantastic sires: Mount Major Kingswood, Mount Major Monaro, Mount Major Lickety Split, Eylwarra Sands Falcon and Monterey Detective. We used an 8 day CIDR program which has been working very well for us over the years. This year was no different, with all cows coming on heat within 3 days. Mount Major Manu has been depastured with a small number of select cows and will be our backup bull. Our clients are also busy joining: Moonraker, pictured here, has just been delivered to local client, Peter Shields. Looking good for a 15 month old young sire.
We managed to get new temporary yards installed at our lease block just in time to bring the heifers home for joining. Everything was going swimmingly until the heifers refused to walk up the loading ramp. We are so proud of Ted's stockmanship. He said, "We should get down and look at it from the cows' eye-level". True enough the bright shiny galvanised surface was glaring in the sunlight. Rubber mats from the trailer provided a quick fix and there were no further problems.
We made 70t of silage (oats, ryegrass & clover) round at the lease block which will be pretty valuable considering the dry spring we are having (only 70mm of rain in September). We used Luke Felmingham of LKF Contracting and they did an excellent job again. I am always happy to see silage go in the bale at the right moisture content.
Liam Cardile of Beef Xcel made his annual visit to scan and assess our 2016 heifers and bulls. We also welcomed clients Geoff & Tim Roberts (pictured here helping Liam with recording) for the day and thankfully the weather was much better than last year. We were happy to see a really even line of bulls and some of the heifers are real standouts - can't wait to see what calves Lucy M11 and Delvene M4 produce next year.
The big project this year has been splitting a 60 acre paddock into two smaller paddocks so we can control grazing pressure. We got some spiffy new fencing, gates and water troughs in the autumn and sowed oats which have been grazed and then sprayed to control some broadleaf weeds that were creeping into the old lucerne stand. Today, Chas, our neighbour, sowed some fresh lucerne into the two new paddocks and gave me a guided tour of the GPS controls in his tractor cab. The technology is just amazing.
Calving officially started a month ago and all of our AI calves are on the ground, with only 10 cows left to calve. So far we have had twice as many bulls as heifers (thanks to my premature prediction of a heifer year!). On paper, the best bull calf is Newtopia (out of Delvene H23 by Falcon) and the best heifer is Delvene N8 (out of Delvene K4 by Kingswood), closely followed by Karen N18 (out of Banksia Ridge Karen F27 by Jackpot). Those Bass genetics are shining through! Pictured below is Jenny H15 with Nick, a nice Kingswood calf, named after the wrold's greatest inseminator.
Jackpot's new home
We have just delivered Jackpot to his new home in a commercial herd at Mudgegonga (it's not as far as Wodonga) after 3 good years as our herd sire. He has given us some really good daughters which we'll be retaining. His progeny have all got really big eye muscles and great feet & legs, and a lot of his progeny have good shape and legnth about them. We wish his new owners all the best and thank-you for this superb photo.
After a good autumn break, we checked our new lease paddock, West's, to see that we have got a new strike with the pasture that we've sown down. We sowed Winteroo oats, an annual ryegrass and a mix of clovers. The plant densities are really good and there were no pests evident. Fingers crossed if the good weather continues we should be grazing this in about 6 weeks. West's is 80 ac, about 8 km from home, comprising 4 paddocks all with good shade. We plan to take our heifers round there and hopefully produce a bit of hay and silage as well. This will allow us to expand our herd and keep up with demand from clients. An exciting next development for Mount Major Murray Greys!
The first scan data from Kingswood's calves has been submitted and we are very pleased to see that he is a trait leader for 200 day growth. His first son, Monaro is looking very good too!
After last year's wet winter, there has been a bit of work to do, repairing paddocks in preparation for sowing.
We have split our 60 acre paddock into two to allow better control of grazing pressure. I'm really looking forwards to being able to graze this paddock properly and we'll also have a bit more flexibility at joining when we like to have at least two fences between joining groups. Scott Quibell did a great job, as always, and while he was here we asked him to make us a new drafting pen at the stock yards to improve cow flow in the stock yards and enable us to draft three ways out of the crush.
We were open for Beef Week again this year and were pleased to welcome back some existing clients as well as some new faces. A really enjoyable day!
Nanny, aged 88 this year, came for a visit and was quick to offer Davo some advice when she inspected the cows.