“Congratulations to the Sykes family on consistantly producing a quality bull breeding program that maintains important traditional values and at the same time embraces new and proven practises in the industry. We wish them every success with their future breeding ventures.”
Simon and Rowena Turner 2009
We run a self replacing, Spring calving, Hereford breeding herd and aim our production at both prime and store market. We find that Spring calving gives us greater flexibility of management, when working with varying seasons and markets. We also look for good constitution in an animal – frame, ability to walk, strong maternal traits and good figures in the 400 day weight.
We have been buying Mawarra bulls consistently for ten years and believe they have significantly contributed to improving our herd, giving us consistency, improved maternal traits, and a good selection of heifers as future breeders. They have also helped us breed cows with a sound constitution enabling them to do well under tough conditions which the high country often experiences.
The cows are joined in October/November and are taken to the bush lease in December with Spring-drop calves at foot. We maintain a young breeding herd fit enough to take to the high country. The cows and calves have to climb 2500 feet in 6 kilometres so they need to have a sound constitution, good feet and be able to travel well. Most years calves are weaned and brought home from the bush in March, between six and seven months of age, while the cows are not mustered until April/May. The cows endure the challenging conditions that the High Country presents, still performing well under these harsh conditions.The steers are generally turned off in summer at 16-18 months and averaging approximately 420-450 kilograms live weight. A large portion of our steers are sold direct into feedlots. The sooner we can have the steers close to maximum entry weight, the quicker the turn off period, hence better feed utilization.
With the improvements in our maternal and carcass traits that Mawarra bulls are delivering for us, we anticipate being able to achieve entry weights in a shorter time frame. Note: Over the past couple of years, with difficult seasons to contend with, we have been able to achieve daily weight gains of .85 to .90 of a kilo per day at 400 days.