Things are certainly humming here at Shannon Vale at the moment, with weaning in full swing and preparations for the Dulverton Female Production Sale scheduled for 10th of March 2021 commencing at 11:00am absolutely buzzing.
A very special inclusion for this Female Production Sale, a Celebration of Forty (40) Years Breeding Dynamic Dulverton Damsels, will be fifteen Commercial PTIC Heifers, from the “Q” Drop and in calf to Dulverton Qafila Q11 a son of the Mighty Calving Ease Champion in D. Montjeu M013 & one of our favourite Wattletop K252 sons D. Qualify Q252.
Weaning this year has been a great boost to Sal’s and My spirits, we are noticing the fruits of our Programmes particularly that of our Heifer Breeding and Calving Ease, coming to the fore. Of particular significance has been the performance of the D. Kiwi K100 daughters.
We did select D. K100 to use over maiden heifers as he was out of D. Mandy X99, who was proving her worth re a trait the Mandy’s Excel at, in Female Longevity/Stay ability.
The Pedigree also boasted Calving Ease as distinct from Light Birth Weight champions in PARB Design Plus ‘97 and J.R. Juice. J. R. Juice was in the pedigree of one of our most pre potent Calving Ease sires of that era in D. Texas T15. Note both bulls also promote Pelvic Capacity and our preferred Pelvic Shape. To be most functional the Pelvis must be wide at the hip carrying through to wide set Pin bones with that characteristic “Roll” from hip to Pin that is the Pins need to be set lower than the Hips.
Mother Nature has selected such a shape re safe calving for beasts in the Wilds e.g. Zebras, Widerbeasts, Buffalo, Indicus cattle etc.
While X99 wasn’t a maiden herself she had successfully calved as a 2 year old unassisted and her female progeny particularly D. D103 were proving very worthy breeders.
D. Kiwi K100 was by the Cluden Newry bull Dick Whale had recommended to us as Heifer Safe an Ardrossan Equator A221 C.N. Equator F10.
You maybe aware that we don’t simply select “Heifer Bulls” solely on Birth Weight, for the simple reason that lighter born calves have negatives-:
- Lower Survival rates, as a general rule most Ill-Thrift calves can be traced back to those with lighter birth weights.
- Lesser Growth Rates. Growth particularly to 400 days is such a vital trait to build into any bovine breeding programme today. Please note our two major Growth requirements re breeding “Maiden” heifers
A) heifer needs to be 320 kg at joining in with 4-6 mls of rib Fat
B) heifer needs to be 460 kg at Calving in similar body condition.
Note 460-490kg is the Liveweight Specification for the 16-20 month old steer going on the Longer fed programmes. It’s not an unreasonable ask to have the heifers (retained for breeding) achieving that target at 4-6 months older.
- Because of their lesser Growth Rate and so ultimate mature size, Lighter birth weight calves do end up with Smaller Pelvic Capacities and so are therefore likely to be more prone to having Calving Difficulties.
The fact that lighter Birth Weight promotes lesser Growth is a major issue re the economic worth of in this case first calf heifers progeny. That is should a large proportion of the heifers progeny not achieve those Growth KPI’s outlined above then there is a major reduction in dollars generated from that segment of the herd. Further, supposedly the first calf heifers progeny should be Genetically Superior if those heifers cannot attain minimum joining weight criteria then that Genetic superiority is foregone.
While Birth Weight isn’t a major consideration at Dulverton re Calving Ease, Gestation Length most definitely is. It has been widely documented that the bovine foetus grows in the order of 0.7kg/day during the last 5 weeks of the gestation so to reduce the gestation length by as much as 5 to 6 days does mean the calf at term will be 3 to 4 kg lighter. If you are able to mate bulls with heifers that both have EBV’s -5 to -6 foot Gestation length then the ensuing progeny will be in the order of 3 to 4 kg lighter, this will significantly reduce Calving Difficulties in first calf heifers. Note the Gestation Length EBV for the Calving Ease Champion D. Montjeu M013 is -7.8, no doubt a major contributor to his outstanding Calving Ease Performance.
Back to D.Kiwi K100
We have just weaned calves from a group of K100 “N” Daughters only to be astounded by the results posted.
WEANING DATE 23/02/2021. Number in Group = 29 Bulls
Ident. Dam. Sire of Dam. Days. Weight. Adj. D. G. Ratio
R047. N017. K100. 215. 355. 1.79. 106
R091. N068. K100. 211. 330. 1.70. 101
R154. N036. K100. 207. 340. 1.78. 105
R183. N031. K100. 202 340. 1.82. 108
These four Bulls are all by the Dunoon N668 a Clunie Range Hank son.
Note R183 is the Top Performing Bull in Group
WEANING DATE 23/02/2021. Number in Group = 23 Heifers
R189. N016. K100. 199. 325. 1.79. 114
This heifer is by Dulverton Peter Pan P096 a Spring Cove Gentleman Jack son from D. Mandy K159 herself a daughter of Cluden Newry F10 (Sire of D. K100).
Note R189 is the Top Performing heifer in that group and N016 is my pick of the Dulverton cows under 6 years.
Hopefully this small data set re K100 points to the fact that it is possible to breed Calving Ease into the Herd without sacrificing the all important growth trait. Rest assured we aren’t aiming to Maximize Growth we Aim to Optimize and so achieve Growth Rates in line with the KPI’s outlined above-:
- 320 Kg’s at joining-14 months
- 460 Kg’s at calving- 24 months
- 460-490 Kg’s steers going on longer fed programs- 18 months
- 500 Kg’s Yearling bulls going to work at 15 months
The Female Production Sale catalogue does contain a number of Lots by Home bred Yearling Bulls used in the Stud over heifers consider-:
1) Lot 34 Dulverton Evilent Q091, a Grade7 daughter of D. Nijinsky N40, out of a first calving Lotto daughter D. Evilent N041. We selected N40 as a “Heifer” bull his Structure suited, we had used C. Gun Smoke J134 over heifers and had Absolutely No Calving issues with him. Importantly D. Nijinsky had a Gestation Length EBV of -8.3 (current EBV still -8.1) and was born “Early” in the Drop. Nijinsky N40 recorded No Calving difficulties and to our amazement did end up being the Heaviest Bull in the 2019 Dulverton Bull sale. It can be done, it is very feasible to be able to breed Bulls that are Heifer “Safe” and yet still able to produce progeny very capable of achieving the all important Growth KPI’s mentioned above.
2) Lot 39 Dulverton Wilcoola Q128, a Grade 7 daughter of D. Naskra N106 out of a first calving Lotto daughter D. Wilcoola N163, his Pedigree credentials being second to none-:
- N106 is out of a first calf heifer, L027
- L027 is out of a first calf heifer, J160.
- L027 by a bull proven in the Dulverton herd to be very heifer safe, Cluden Newry Equator F10
- N106 by Lonhro L16 who was selected as a heifer “safe” Yearling and he proved to be just that
These two Lots are unique we have absolutely no problem in recommending them as Heifers who will calve easily themselves and go onto Breed ideal Heifer safe Prospects