Tuesday, May 20, 2014

May 20th

Day 8

A quick trip down the road from Armidale to where we got to visit with Sam White of Bald Blair Angus, a commercial seed stock producer. Established in 1898 on an original 10.000 acres, the family has seen several periods of growth and fluctuation within the business. Today Sam’s enterprise consists of 1100 breeding females (600 hd commercial and 400 registered), 300 head of bulls and close to 1,000 head of meat and wool sheep.

Angus bull at Bald Blair
Sam white in front of "crusher" calf table
While this is still a decent sized operation, Sam has reduced his registered and elite groups by nearly 40% in the last three weeks as the result of ongoing drought conditions that have significantly reduced forage and water supply throughout his paddocks (that’s Aussie for pasture!).  In attempt to keep the cyclic seasons on track, Sam has opted to sell anything that doesn’t meet his requirements for criterion such as ideal structure, body condition score (6-12 mm of rib and rump fat), calving ease (if proven), age, and performance records. In this particular part of Australia, calving takes place in late July through September, breeding in October, castration and processing in November, and weaning in February. Five stock yards make up Bald Blair Angus with the home place having both the yards and sale facilities. This central location makes for easy and efficient chute handling equipped with rounded tubs, separate calf tables and “crushers” (Aussie for squeeze chute). The White family was a great example of Australian herdmanship and conservation at its finest with many improvements and investments being made on the land’s forage and water resources each year. Bald Blair is a very successful registered Angus breeder.

Bald Blair's 3-year-old cows
Bald Blair's 3-year-old cows
From Bald Blair Angus we headed an hour north across the boarder from New South Whales into Queensland to the Queensland College of Wine where we grabbed a quick lunch and had a chance to taste some of the popular white and red wines produced at the college. With the sampling came a quick lesson on wine tasting etiquette which involves a rather serious process of color evaluation, glass swirling, sniffing, and gurgling. The tour finished up with a quick look inside the wine processing facility full of various lab materials and oak wine barrels stacked to the ceiling.

Charolais bulls at Palgrove Stud
Palgrove Charolais of Dalveen, QL was our final tour of the day. David and Prue Bondfield are both the owners and driving force behind the success of the Charolais breed in Australia and as a result, a phenomenal commercial seed stock program. They are the largest registered Charolais producer in Australia and arguably the second largest in the world, with a program that originates back to the first registered shipment of Charolais semen into the country in 1969. Today Palgrove sells an average of 1000 bulls a year, with a producing heard of over 5,000 head on 25,000 acres spread across 5 properties. Producing bulls to fit their customers (and market) needs are the number one priority and as such they also offer quality beef genetic options through Charolais-Angus cross, Charbray (Charolais X Brahman), and ultrablack sire options for sale. These flexible options let producers further target individual markets, be it live exports, grass-fed/lean beef exports, domestic markets, feedlots, and so on. Palgrove is the first to bring the ultrablack breeding into to the country for a great pairing over cattle in the northern tropical climate of Australia where survivability and docility are major selection factors. In addition to the superior genetics they provide, Palgrove is a great example of proper marketing, financial decisions, and risk management. Land and livestock are seen as separate enterprises with a large interest in research and the future of the industry.

Elite Black bulls at Palgrove Stud
Tonight we will be staying in Toowoomba, QL and preparing for tomorrow’s trip to a large local sale barn and Beef City tour!

Elite Black bulls

-Jackson and Katelynn E.

No comments:

Post a Comment