Rockley’s breeder herd – from top standards in selection & management

Rockley’s breeder herd – from top standards in selection & management

The contribution of Rockley female Red Brahmans to our clients’ confidence and profitability can’t be underestimated. Over more than sixty years of successfully breeding elite Red Brahmans we have produced a uniformbalancedvisually appealing and consistent line of elite females that are easily identifiable as ‘the Rockley type’. Most importantly, we have listened to and responded to our clients’ requirements.

At Rockley we have enjoyed long-term herd profitability improvements that we are proud to pass on to our clients. These improvements stem from our prioritisation of the highest standards in selection processes and management practices for our breeder herd.

Breeder herd selection

We have developed our breeder-herd selection processes around seven elite attributes. With the goal of developing these attributes in their progeny, we are always looking to improve our females in terms of fertility; the weight of a weaned calf; the subsequent growth of a weaned animal; and the ultimate value of a sale animal through carcase quality.

To join our breeder herd, a female must meet our minimum requirements by:

  • calving every  year;
  • calving easily;
  • having calves that are frequently above average for post weaning gain;
  • weaning calves that are regularly above average in weight;
  • being structurally sound and having calves that are structurally sound; and
  • possessing a quiet temperament and having calves that are quiet.

Rockley females are selected at two points: pre and post-breeding. The pre-breeding selection establishes which animals have maximum potential for conceiving and the post-breeding process selects animals that have conceived.

Chris and I spend many hours selecting heifer replacements and evaluating females for retention in the herd. We use a combination of subjective (visual) and objective (measured) selection methods. Growth can be easily measured with the assistance of growth EBV’s from Breedplan or Group Breedplan. Animals are not selected if certain essential traits are lacking, even if they display other valuable traits. For example, a non- performing cow will fail selection even if she rates highly in other categories of our seven elite attributes.

Breeder herd management

Our herd management practices give our females every opportunity to perform to their potential in the environment where they are raised. We focus on four factors in particular:

  1. Nutrition
    We ensure our females (along with our bulls) have quality feed that meets the nutritional requirements for their stage of development. We do this in two main ways: management and supplementation. Management options that enable us to monitor our females’ nutrition include segregation, stocking rates, controlled mating, optimal weaning times, choosing the correct genetic material and distributing well-placed quality water. At certain times of the year when  seasonal conditions are unfavourable we require supplementation in order to achieve market and production targets.
  2. Mating
    At Rockley we use a restricted joining system in our natural breeding program. This program allows us to achieve a uniform line of weaners that are born at the optimal time in the season. Continuous joining, on the other hand, can leave you with out-of-season calves and results in more work in terms of extra mustering, branding, weaning, pregnancy testing and so on. Our mating management practices include optimal weaning times.
  3. Genetics
    We place our females in the highest regards, although the most genetic gain possible is achievable from bull selection. When selecting a superior Sire we like to do our ‘homework’ and we do not take our decisions lightly. This allows our elite females the opportunity to excel and produce genetically superior progeny.
  4. Health
    At Rockley, we place great  emphasis on animal health, welfare and biosecurity measures. In particular, our females are strategically vaccinated – against leptospirosis and pestivirus among others – to ensure a very high level of herd health is maintained.

We value our elite females very highly. Through stringent selection using our 7 breeding attributes as a guide, you can have complete confidence when selecting cattle from Rockley Brahmans, whether you are a commercial or seed-stock producer.

Please call Chris (07 4934 6317) or Ashley (0408 780 810) to talk further about ‘the Rockley type’ female and our breeder herd.

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