Part 4 – Bull Purchase Guide

Helping you with your 2018 Dulverton Bull purchase.

We have decided to put together a number of hopefully helpful articles re this year’s draft of bulls that might just help in your decision making process with respect to your Dulverton bull purchase for 2018.

Article 4 – Mature Cow Weight and NFI

As we prepare for our seventeenth Angus bull sale here at Shannon Vale I notice the cotton seed wagon on yet another ‘voyage’ out into the cow paddocks and we continue contemplating how can we as Seedstock Producers help the Beef Industry at large cope with escalating costs of production particularly in these extended periods of ‘nutritional stress’. Well I guess there are a couple of genetic traits that can be used:-

  1. Mature Cow weight
  2. NFI – note we have elected to concentrate on using the NFI-F trait given it’s a more ‘robust’ measure than NFI-P and many of your bulls progeny (steers and surplus heifers) will end up in Feedlots for finishing. Feed Efficiency is an Industry Issue.

Note genetic progress for both these traits is reasonable as both are seen as highly heritable. That is, about fifty percent of the measured expression re both traits is attributable to the genotype (genetic makeup) of the animal and the other fifty percent to the ‘environment’ – feed, management etc.).

In an attempt to assist you select your Dulverton sire for 2018 we have put together a list of bulls who have a Mature Cow weight of 100 or less. Note we have included a few just over 100 to be eligible for inclusion with an EBV of just over 100 the individual had to have been above breed average or better NFI-F.

Mature Cow Weight.

Why didn’t we use Breed Average for Mature Cow Weight as the cut-off, after all the smaller the cow the less her body maintenance requirement. Correct! However, there is the conflicting issue (Breeding is all about compromises) of Growth. Your ‘hip pocket’ is sustained in the main, by an exchange determined by cents per kilogram, there comes a point, where, by reducing mature cow weight by too much can comprise growth to a point where it effects individual beef enterprise profitability. Note were we too make the cow too small it will impact on her functionality, insufficient rumen capacity (intake to feed conversion issue) insufficient pelvic capacity and as a result increased calving difficulties. Just as the Biggest and the Most isn’t the Best so too the Smallest and the Least isn’t the Best!!!

Note there are 41 Lots from the 85 catalogued that fit this criteria, with only 3- Lot 23, Lot 27 and Lot 63 below breed average for 600 day growth.


NFI-F is a great concept, its about more for less. Well ‘normal’ body function and growth rates. NFI isn’t a new concept the initial work with Angus occurred a complete ‘ALFHA’ – 25 year cycle ago at Trangie Research Station .

One of the best performers from this initial work, who was also structurally sound, was Tinamba Numbers N62, we used the bull and have been consciously trying to incorporate the trait into our program over the last 26 years.

Some of the pre-potent NFI-F sires in circulation within our breeding program would include Dulverton Uptake U91 (Top 25%), Prairie Edge Marbul Design 931 (Top 1%), RocknD Ambush (Top 10%), Hyline Right Time 338 (Top 1%), Dulverton Blaster B111 (Top 5%), Booroomooka Frankel (Top 1%) and Booroomooka Hyperno (Top 5%). Note that these bulls are also high RBY% bulls and in the main high marbling, not IMF% where marbling is our indicator for Eating Quality. In essence they are the value determining trait set of bulls.

Forty six (46) of the bulls in this catalogue (85) are better than breed average for NFI-F and so should assist your program commence an efficiency drive re tackling the escalating feed budget costs.


Eighteen of the bulls in this draft can assist you with improving female efficiency by reducing Mature Cow Weight. The cow needs to be large enough to perform the normal functions of delivering a live calf, feeding that live calf and passing on sufficient growth in her progeny so as to ensure beef is Price competitive at retail. Two beef processors (Teys and Bindaree) have recently singled by their price grids that 350kg carcase weight is there upper limit. This decision taken in recognition of both eating quality (youthfulness and tenderness) and price competitiveness at retail (portion size).

Keep in mind two points:

  1. Just as the Biggest and the Most isn’t the Best then so too the Smallest and the Least isn’t the Best.
  2. There is only one reason to produce Beef and that is to satisfy the Eating Quality Expectations of the Beef Consumer both consistently (each and every time they partake) and Price Competitively.

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