The breeding programme at Curracabark aims to provide commercially relevant, profitable and consistent stud and commercial cattle genetics that are successful for the beef producer and food industry and result in genuine beef consumer satisfaction.
The annual, nation-wide search for appropriate stud stock genetics means we view many hundreds of bulls at sales or open days, some of their mothers, and many more bulls on paper. This is necessary to help better both our clients’ herds and our own commercial herds. A combination of new bloodlines from successfully proven genetics, and direct use of well-established lines suits our programme. It seems more successful to find and use a sire going well, or try a good son from a good cow.
A broad selection of criteria is considered with visual appraisal first and Breedplan data a very useful second if the EBVs have a 60% plus degree of accuracy.
Phenotype is very relevant. These traits include robust constitution (head and muzzle strength, rib width and depth) EMA shape which is a better indication of muscularity, skeletal structure for longevity, skin and hair type for easy do ability, and breed character. These unmeasured traits are important contributors to profitability on property, in the processor works and in the retail sector.
We look for consistency in our cattle. Use of vastly different types of parentage will result in big differences in progeny and not a mid-parent average as suggested by Breedplan. If selection is solely on Breedplan data then that is all that will be achieved. To our way of thinking, good data and profitability are not the same thing.
Selecting and culling vigorously means we maintain the strengths of our genetics and improve the weakness within each breed. Less than half the male born stud stock make it to be breeding bulls. Likewise for the stud stock females.
Our points of difference
- Robust doing ability to thrive in dryer times and tougher commercial grazing country
- Mid maturity frame size to suit both grass and grain fed markets
- Use of similar type of genetics for consistency
- Mix of visual and measured trait selection
- Recognising breed strengths and weaknesses and improving them
- Due diligence in stud sire selection
- Optimal fertility, adequate growth, higher muscle content carcases for grass and grain fed beef production
- We don’t use the latest unproven fad sire. History has proven very few of these are actually a step forward.