Fast growth, calving ease important

Glenside Simmentals owner Garry McCorkindale (right) and manager Daniel Wark load a ute with...
Glenside Simmentals owner Garry McCorkindale (right) and manager Daniel Wark load a ute with fodder beet to feed a mob of nearly 50 yearling bull calves in Waitahuna. PHOTO: SHAWN MCAVINUE
Shawn McAvinue talks to Glenside Simmentals owner Garry McCorkindale, of Waitahuna, about his recent bull purchases.

Q. I’ve heard you’ve paid the top price at a couple of rising two-year-old bull sales — $17,000 for bull Gold Creek Locomotive at Gold Creek Simmentals, near Gisborne, on May 20 and $13,000 for bull Leafland 220021 at Leafland Simmentals, in North Taieri, on May 22. What genetics are you chasing in those animals?

Those bulls meet my needs in terms of structure, docility, they were both polled and they had a good mix of above-average growth and above-average calving ease.

Q. Why are those two traits important to your breeding programme?

Simmentals are a terminal sire so if you don’t have growth, you’ve really got nothing. The faster the progeny grow, the sooner they have their heads cut off. As far as the calving ease goes, cows that calve easy, get back in-calf quicker.

Q. Can you have the best of both worlds, a big calve and easy calving?

The heavier the calf, in general, the more likely you are to have problems, but having said that, there are animals out there that bend the curve and start off smaller but then grow faster once they are on the deck. That is the kind of animal I’m looking for.

Q. When is Gold Greek Locomotive due to arrive in Waitahuna?

Not sure but he won’t be far away. I’m looking forward to getting him home.

Q. Do bulls raised in warm climates, such as Gisborne, easily adapt to the colder southern conditions?

I’ve bought them off the East Coast before and the bulls travel well. I’ve never had any trouble with them adapting to the colder climate.

Q. At your 33rd annual bull sale on May 23, you sold 10 of 13 and averaged $6700 including a top price of $15,500. Were you happy with the sale result?

Yes, in the current economic climate. Dollars are harder to find and farmers are questioning every expense and they are not paying anymore than they have to for the bulls that they want. Our average price was back from $7000 last year.

Q. What is the appeal of the Simmental breed?

Getting steers and heifers killed before their second winter is still the best economics in producing beef. The best way to achieve that is to have an animal that will grow faster.

Q. Why is fodder beet your winter crop of choice?

It is a high-energy crop. Stock do very well on it, they love it and are very settled on it and look forward to a fresh break.