Unlocking efficiency with dairy-beef
Improving his dairy herd was the impetus for James Couch to use dairy-beef semen.
For the Nullawarre dairy farmer, it was a simple equation. Joining the bulk of his herd to ABS InFocus™ – semen that includes three proven high fertility Angus bulls – delivered in-calf cows, but more importantly, it helped cut costs. It’s not only cheaper semen compared, to what he’d normally use, but it provides a valuable and saleable animal.
James knew exactly where to spending the savings.
“It meant we could spend an extra $4 to $5 a straw on our Sexcel™ to get the exact bulls that we absolutely wanted,” he said.
“It’s instead of trying to skimp and save a bit of money and hoping for a black and white at the end of the day.
“Now we are going to get the best animal that we can get and for the rest, we are going to have Angus calves hitting the ground that we can make extra money out of.”
James milks about 270 cows, his herd includes Jerseys, Friesians, Ayrshires, and their crosses. Next door his brother Pat has a herd of 290. The two work closely and rear their calves together in southwest Victoria.
Maiden heifers had been calving in mid-April at James’ farm before the herd began calving for six to eight weeks in May.
Seasonal calving works well for the business, but James has plans to move this forward to boost cashflow and better target his use of Sexcel™ to improve genetic gain.
“Using Sexcel™ on heifers, we will plan to join them that extra bit early and eventually calve maiden heifers in January and the remaining cows in April and May,” he said.
“It is changing our cashflow mainly, but it gives us a bit more security calving heifers earlier as we will have certain pregnancies from heifers. Then we will only need to say get an extra 100 cows in calf to Sexcel™. So we can go and buy 200 does of Sexcel™ then the rest of the herd is joined to InFocus™.”
“Then all the replacements come earlier, and it is a lot easier for us (in the calf shed) and we can take our time before the InFocus™ calves come in later.”
Fertility is one of the primary breeding focuses for James because of his seasonal calving system.