Using top quality genetics provided by Focus Genetics is paying off for one of the Lone Star group’s largest farming operations, increasing production and profitability.
Caberfeidh Farm, near Oamaru has been using Focus Genetics since 2011, and farm manager Andrew Harding says he has noticed a marked improvement with stock efficiency and performance.
The property is 6,000 hectares (about 5,300ha effective) and runs 34,000 stock units, made up of 16,000 breeding ewes, 330 mixed age cows, 80 heifers, 400 grazing dairy heifers, 13,000 trading lambs and 1,000 cattle.
Andrew says calving percentages have risen from 85% to 92% since using Focus Genetics Black Angus Bulls. “Traditionally, we used to wean a 210kg calf at the start of May, we’re now weaning 240kg calves at the end of March so we’re already a step ahead of the game.”
“We needed our cows to produce a low birth weight, high growth animal with a moderate frame to improve our feed efficiency and calving ability. Since changing to Focus Genetics, our 70-80 yearlings have experienced no calving difficulties. We definitely attribute that to the low birth weight bulls.”
Andrew attributes the better results to excellent genetics and farm management. “To be weaning two months earlier with an increased 20-30 kilograms on each calf is not just about feed, there’s genetics in there for sure. “The calves perform well from the moment they’re born and we’re really impressed with them. Our two year old heifer calves now wean at the same weight as some of our mixed aged cows so the genetic improvement is clearly evident,” says Andrew.
Since 2011, Caberfeidh Farm has purchased 60 Lamb Supreme Rams and 60 2th Highlanders. In the past the farm has run Romney-Texel and Perendale ewes, with a lambing percentage of about 135%. Andrew says since infiltrating the Highlander genetics two years ago, they’re now on target to meet 150%.
“We find the Highlander ewe is more fertile, are better mothers and mature earlier than other breeds. We believe that by putting the Highlander into our flocks we’ll be able to get consistently higher scanning percentages each year.”
“The superior meat yielding quality of the Lamb Supreme (now FocusPrime™) also works really well for us because they hit the ground running and all our Lamb Supreme lambs are killed fat by the end of March at 17.5kgs, which for our country and farming policy is a big shift in production.”
Lone Star’s Caberfeidh Farm cuts and carries up to one million kilograms of dry matter each year. Andrew says Focus Genetics helps them produce high performance animals that handle their harder country better. “We need a high performance animal that can efficiently use the pasture in the times we have to grow it.”
“The improvements we have seen in the cattle have exceeded our expectations. The ease of calving has been pivotal and our projected weaning weights are now 20-30kgs above where we thought we’d be after using Focus Genetics for just four years.”