Old News from the farm gate...
On this page you can find archived news stories that previously appeared on the News page or other pages
Biodynamic Agriculture Australia (BAA)
A good few weeks ago, we received an invitation from BAA to host one of a series of Field Days being planned for a week in WA. Although we have only been using Biodynamic Preparations since 2015, we said yes, and over three dozen people arrived on Monday 18th September to hear John Hodgkinson and Shane Joyce from BAA share their experiences with biodynamics.
Our BD consultant Deanna Forster from Denmark and John Howard who sprays out the preps also were able to share their knowledge. In telling our story, Jim mentioned that in addition to BD Preps, we also use Australian Mineral Fertilisers (and representative John Partridge was present) and Soil-Life preparations to build biology in the soil (and Philip Jones from New Tech Ag Services was there too).
Farm maps showing applications of these products and of a range of test results were on display; chromatography results weren’t available but will be soon, so they will be shared the next update. An excellent and interesting day with much opportunity for listening, networking and kicking the dirt on a couple of paddocks to see some perennial grasses.
One of those contained the yearling heifer mob; being very inquisitive young ladies they gathered round the group; as one gentleman wearing thongs sat amidst the group of people and heifers, one of the heifers gave him a complimentary toe massage!
The following day, we attended the last WA Field Day at Dardanup, firstly visiting the compost making facility at the Bunbury-Harvey Recycling Centre. It was fascinating to see the initial start off piles of green waste collected from residents’ bins (being somewhat ashamed of the human race and the amount of non-green waste/vegetable peelings in that pile) and council work and see what aeration and water, with a couple of screenings to remove almost every vestige of non-green material, and the application of BD Preps resulting in almost good-enough-to-eat compost. Recycling on a large scale!
That process is overseen by Louise Edmonds of Intuit Earth who also offers a chromatography service on soil samples. During the sessions following the recycling facility visit, Louise took us through some details of a workshop she had attended for two weeks to increase her understanding of the chromatography process and analysis (attended by another person present) – a very involved process. Several people had had soil samples analysed through this chromatography test, included five from us, but the results were not quite complete, so we await the written report in due course.
Again a very interesting day. There is always something new to learn about, even if not directly applicable to one’s own situation.
Fortieth Anniversary Celebrations:
WISALTS turned 40! Both Jim and Pam have been involved with the Whittington Interceptor Bank Society since it was formed in 1978 and the 40th celebrations in Aldersyde in the middle of September was a happy day, catching up with friends from the early days as well as the current committee.
Mt Barker Wine Show, or more properly the Wine Show of Western Australia Mt Barker, turns 40 this month since the first wines in modern times were part of the Annual Agricultural Show. (Wines were exhibited there in 1904 and 1906!). A couple of events – the Exhibitors Lunch and the Awards Dinner – will have special emphasis on this milestone.
Bovine Johnes and J-BAS
With the removal of all BJD zoning as at 1st July 2016, Ardcairnie Angus herd have fulfilled the requirement to have a Farm Biosecurity plan, oversighted by our vet, in place by 30th June 2017 (though that date has been extended to 1st October, working in with the LPA/NVD/NLIS changes which require every beef producer in Australia to have a Farm Biosecurity Plan in place by then.
A check (faecal) test must be done on 50 animals by 30th June 2018 and our plan is to meet that requirement to retain our J-BAS 8 status.
Our main reason for compliance is that we want our herd to be J-BAS 8 and we believe our clients and potential clients would feel the same way.
These become effective on 1st October and, in part, require every beef producer to have a Farm Biosecurity Plan in place. The Plan (a two pager) we completed with our vet for the BJD compliance will not be sufficient but we have been assured that the seven pager developed buy Animal Health Australia will fill the bill for both requirements (BJD and LPA), so we will be doing that over the next few weeks (once the AI programmes are competed and the bulls are working!). If you have access to the internet, a fillable copy is available by going to Animal Health Australia Farm Biosecurity Plan on your search engine; by clicking on a few places you will find the plan – just be aware that the latest plan is version 1.3 (11/07/2017).
Microbes for the soil
The two shuttles of microbe brews are bubbling away and will be sprayed out over 90hs on 29/30 May. Soil tests on that area and a control unsprayed area will be done in September.
Some of the internal fences on Maybenup demanded attention so Jim pulled down the old fences, rolling up the old wire into neat rolls and a fencing contractor came in and made short work of re-erecting the new fences – ringlock with a plain wire on top. More fencing supplies have been brought in ready for the next lot!
A few weeks ago, a half hectare greenhouse on a property at Beaufort started offering weekly boxes of whatever vegetables and herbs were ready for harvest delivered to several towns, including Kojonup, in the area. We are happy to support Wide Open Agriculture’s project “Food for Reason” bringing diversity to production in the wheatbelt. Other greenhouses are planned. The contents of the vegie boxes have been good value and enjoyed but only supply a relatively small portion of our weekly vegetable and fruit requirements.
Water On Farm – and workloads!
When you have stock, you need water! In 2014, we started the process of adding some security to Maybenup’s water supplies and now have five bores (of varying depths) with solar powered submersible pumps.
For palatability, water from two of these bores needed shandying with water from nearby dams; this was done by using petrol powered pumps which required quite a bit of management. Now each of those two dams has a solor powered submersible pump, which work at the same time as the bore pumps. Life is much simpler as the tank shuts off the solar pumps when it’s full, and switches them on again when the tank level drops. Great use of technology!
Genetic Condition Testing
When a test for Arthrogryposis (AM) became available through the Angus Society in 2008, we made the decision that we would only use or sell bulls free by test or pedigree of AM. Following years brought tests from Neuropathic Hydrocephalus (NH), Contractural Arachnodactyly (CA) and Developmental Duplication (DD). We have maintained that early decision so all bulls Ardcairnie Angus uses or offers for sale are free by test or pedigree of these four genetic conditions. The status of each animal is shown (for example) as AMFU (Free untested in that there is nothing in the pedigree to indicate the condition being present), AMF (has been tested and is free), AM6% (has a six in one hundred chance of being a carrier) and AMC (a carrier of AM).
In general, this means that an animal with a status of AM67% is more likely to be a carrier than one that is AM5%.
However, in assessing the “risk’ of an animal being a carrier, we decided that we would test all bulls, even those with a one in a hundred chance of being a carrier. Over the years, that has cost quite a lot of money but we have continued our initial commitment to ensuring that all Ardcairnie bulls for use of for sale are free by test or pedigree of the four genetic conditions.
That testing was more than justified in the testing of last year’s bull calves, when one with a one in one hundred chance of being a carrier was!
It’s just a point of difference between Ardcairnie and some other Angus studs.
Microbe Brewing Day
On 31st March, eighteen interested people from near and far gathered at our shed to learn a bit about encouraging soil health by increasing beneficial microbial activity in the soil.
Philip Jones from ActivFert explained the process and the importance of increasing all those little critters working for free under the soil surface.
The brewing up is done in 1000 litre shuttles – some water first then five 20 litre drums of molasses (to provide food for the microbes to multiply) is added. Then some more water and five 20 litre drums of ActivFert Soil-Life. The shuttle is then filled to the top with water (minimal air space on top), then the lid is put on loosely to allow air to escape – and to stop any insects going in!
The fermentation process is anaerobic so there’s no requirement for stirring or aeration. Through this process, the original 5 drums (or 100 litres) of Soil-Life is extended out to 1000 litres (or ten times the volume), thereby making the final brew quite cheap.
The warmth of the sun assists in stimulating the microbes to multiply and populate their new 1000 litre “home” over the next few weeks. Then 200 litres of the brew will be mixed with 600 litres of water in a fire-fighting tank and sprayed over about 10hectares/25 acres of the paddock.
One shuttle was used last year but no testing was done. There was a sample of soil from that paddock available for inspection and it was nice and crumbly with a nice dark layer extending about 50 mm or 2 inches down from the surface, indicating microbial activity and the formation of humus (stable carbon). Last year, we also applied a micronized Calcium-Magnesium-Silicon product as well as some humic acid with the Soil-Life to stimulate and feed the bacteria being sprayed out on the paddock.
This year, two shuttles have been prepared and will be used over about 80 hectares. And tissue and microbial testing will be done in September on sprayed and unsprayed areas and another invitation will be extended then for interested people to see the paddocks and the results.
Any inquiries, please contact Jim on 9831 0401 or Philip on 0488 033 737.
Our 2017 bull sale on Tuesday 31st January was in many ways a record breaker for us. Increased registrations, increased number of bulls sold, an increase in the top price and the average. Given that our annual hope is that we will sell half of what is penned up, to sell 56 of the 69 penned up, with another three immediately after the sale was somewhat of a very pleasant surprise. Full reports will be in the Countryman and the Farm Weekly next week - more detail below.
The day of our annual bull sale is the most important day in our farming year and is the culmination of much of the work we undertake in the other 364 or 365 days of the year.
Tuesday 31st January 2017 was very rewarding for us both and we very much appreciate the interest and confidence in our stock. The support of 17 returning and seven new buyers, as well as that of the underbidders, is very greatly appreciated, as was the increased registrations.
Statistics: As regular readers know, we catalogue every bull we have available for sale so 82 were catalogued. One was withdrawn permanently and 12 others temporarily withdrawn on sale day awaiting further semen tests and the result of one genetic condition suspect.
So, 69 penned up, 56 sold through the auction with 14 at the reserve price printed in the catalogue and 42 at anything from $600 to $8,800 more – as we have always said, competition is good for the vendors! Another three were sold immediately afterwards.
New at our 2017 Bull Sale, 31 January 2017 was the Pindari Craft Stall:
A close crafty friend has been searching for material depicting black (Angus) cows for over 17 years and has finally found some. So out of that, pot holders, aprons, casserole holders, bottle holders (keeps the water – or wine – cool), coasters, hand-towels, coffee pot warmers were made – another way to show your breed alliance which several buyers took up!!
Annual Bull Sale - Results
Our 2016 bull sale was held Tuesday 2rd February 2016. Sales results - 34 bulls sold at auction and a further 3 sold afterwards, to a top price of $11,000. We catalogued 75 bulls in January, five have been withdrawn for a variety of reasons and all the remaining 70 have sold, plus two three year olds and one five year old to help out folk with a breakdown. No more bulls available this year!
Our 2017 bull sale is on Tuesday 31st January, holding to our usual practice of holding our bull sale on the Tuesday before the first Friday in February.
The Angus Sire Benchmarking Program (ASBP)
Having entered Ardcairnie F96 in Cohort Three (data collection and final results completed) and Ardcairnie J27 in Cohort 6 (mating by Fixed Time AI into the co-operator herds last Spring), we have provisionally entered Ardcairnie K32 for Cohort 7, though a final decision has still to be made.
Mobs on Maybenup at 14 August 2016
Rainfall on Maybenup
July saw close to two inches of rain over 8 – 11 days on Maybenup; August has already brought over an inch to date (14th). And it is still, in spite of some very cold weather, the best season break we have had. When the sun is shining and the wind isn’t blowing, perfect!!!
See some photos of the yards when cows and calves were mustered for AI on Friday (12th August)
Calving was completed on 17th July one very late lady! Calves are growing well (as they usually do!) and Mums hopefully are or will be pregnant before cow mating finishes in early October.
400 Day Weights
These measurements have been taken and sent to Angus Australia and will be included in the July Breedplan Report for Ardcairnie. The heifer / steer weights were taken later than we have done in past recent years, right at the end of June, so we were able to split the AI mob from the non-AI mob after taking the weights. Then, by letting those heifers into the lane-way that runs north / south through the middle of Maybenup with the hope that they would follow us south, then us driving quickly to the south yards and releasing the two bulls into the lane-way to travel north, we hoped they would meet during the night. They did!!
No supplementary feeding is being done now. The grass is growing but fairly slowly due to the cold weather.
The heifer AI program was completed on 21st July and most of that mob put with home-bred bull K244 while the rest joined the other heifer mob with two bulls – Esslemont K5 and Ardcairnie K7.
The cow AI program started on 2nd August after the big split up of cows and calves into two mobs initially – AI and non-AI. The non-AI mob was then split into seven bull mobs and each has one bull, including our new purchase Koojan Hills Reality K46. The AI-mob will join these seven mobs after 22nd August.
For the last few years, all AI for the heifers and the cows has been done on visual assessment over 21 or 22 days by Jim; heifers in July, cows in August. This year, for the third year, a Fixed Time AI program was used with the 'first calvers' so 70 of them were AI’d on Tuesday 26th July. Then Jim does the cow AI program over three weeks in August.
PTIC Heifers and perhaps cows for sale
Depending on results from the heifer pregnancy testing sometime in October and the cow pregnancy testing in November, pregnancy tested in calf females will be available for purchase.
We already have two names on the interested list so if you might be interested, please contact us – 0417 942 326 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Testimonial Dinner for Lew Smit, OAM
This was a very happy evening attended by nearly 80 cattle industry people, including John and Beth McKay (Wilson Downs) and Dick Vincent. Photo boards pictured highlights of the Koojan Hills sales and Lew’s contribution to the cattle industry.
Our new bull, Koojan Hills Reality K46 has settled in well and will allow us to spread Matauri Reality genes more widely in the herd. We have found Matauri Reality progeny perform well in our system and K46 will allow us to continue to seek new AI sires but extend the influence of the sires that have been proven to work for us – Matauri Reality, Sydgen Trust, TC Aberdeen, Ardcairnie F96 and Waitaro Pio Federal - by natural service.
The Angus Sire Benchmarking Program (ASBP)
The ASBP is a major initiative of Angus Australia with support from Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) and industry partners such as Vetoquinol, Rangers Valley Feedlot and John Dee Abattoir.
The objectives of the ASBP are:
Entering a bull into this program gives us a chance to see how our animals perform when measured against another 40 bulls in Australasia and occasionally a USA bull, and while there are costs involved, it’s been very interesting.
Keeping it in the Family and Murdoch Vet Student Graduation 2015
We continue to be very impressed with the calibre of the students we have hosted. Following the grand-daughter of one of Jim’s cousins in NSW undertaking four weeks of farm practicum for her course at UNE in Armidale with us all November, there have been two students form Murdoch with us for two weeks each. All have fitted in so well to life at Maybenup, learning as they go. Since our first student in 2008, and including the NSW girl, 28 students have used Maybenup as part of their farm experience.
Friday 11th December saw us attend the registration Ceremony at Murdoch Vet School where five of “our’ students graduated, one taking the top dux award. It was a very special time, meeting some of the parents as well as seeing these young qualified men and women setting out on the next stage of their professional journey.
Angus Group Breedplan Sire Summary February 2016
This includes 94 pages of information and statistics. It includes a list of published sires (which are sires who have had 50 or more progeny registered in the last two years); Ardcairnie has five entries: E36 (83), E48 (96) and F250 (70) all in our Ardcairnie herd. Ardcairnie F86 has 115 progeny from seven herds, being ours and the 6 co-operator herds in Cohort 3 of the Angus Sire Benchmarking Program and G33 with 55 progeny from 2 herds, the other being Trafalgar Angus in WA - we sold 20 PTIC commercial cows to them in 2015, some of which are now registered for this new stud.
In the 2016 Summary, trait leaders means that the bull is in the top 5% for that trait relative to the average EBVs of all 2013 born calves and with an accuracy of at least 80% for that trait.
Ardcairnie features here too: E36 and F250 are trait leaders for Calving Ease Direct; G33 is a trait leader for 200 and 400 day weights, and F96 is a trait leader for Calving ease Direct and for Eye Muscle Area.
Our Bull Sale Philosophy:
Ardcairnie catalogue every bull considered suitable for the breeding chain (to produce a satisfying beef meal at the other end of the chain) and have found over the years (2016 is the 18th sale) that half the catalogued bulls find new owners on sale day, with the remainder usually all selling by the end of the mating season, as happened last year with 63 bulls sold by September..
While this doesn’t look good in the end of season statistics which will be compiled by Farm Weekly at the end of the bull selling season, our entry will show that we offered 70, sold 34 = 48.5%, that has never bothered us, as the aim is to give potential buyers the widest possible choice of Ardcairnie genetics and breeding at our annual Bull Sale.
There are 75 bulls in the 2016 sale catalogue and our regular clients (and others) know that we usually have bulls available through the mating season. Our bulls are catalogued and penned in ear tag order (usually age order) so there are good bulls throughout the whole catalogue. Of the 75 catalogued, 70 were penned up as available on sale day. In fact Lot 74 Ardcairnie K260, a son of Ardcairnie F96 sold for well above his catalogue reserve at $8,200.
Registrations were 35 of which 22 were buyers - eight new and fourteen returning clients. The eight bought 13 of the 34 and the 14 the rest. A further three bills were sold immediately after the sale, with one to a new client and two to existing clients.
So there are 33 bulls in the reducing catalogue, with another 4 pending semen re-test results and one recovering from lameness.
An old song says there must be fifty ways to leave your lover – here are just a few reasons why you should consider buying an Ardcairnie bull next year:
1. All potential sale (and keeper) bulls are semen tested with follow up morphology testing;
2. Culling for unacceptable temperament and structure is ongoing;
3. Bulls with unacceptable EBVs and $Indexes for breeding programs are culled;
4. Ardcairnie catalogues every bull available for purchase so potential buyers have maximum choice from Ardcairnie's breeding program;
5. The catalogue shows all EBVs and $Indexes for which Ardcairnie takes measurements;
6. The herd has a full vaccination program using Vibrovax, Ultravac 7 in 1 and Pestigard;
7. No credit system operates at the Ardcairnie Bull Sale – any problems are dealt with as quickly as possible;
8. Ardcairnie offers good bulls at reasonable prices and a reserve price is printed in the catalogue for each bull;
9. Bulls used by Ardcairnie, and offered for sale, are free by pedigree or test of the four genetic conditions at the time of use or sale cataloguing.
10. Bulls are offered for purchase in “fit not fat, and ready to work” condition;
11. All sale bulls are accredited under the Zoetis STAR program - Steps Taken Against Reproductive diseases;
12. If your females don’t need your new bull immediately, Ardcairnie offers a Bed and Breakfast option till the girls are ready!
13. All bulls are semen tested and morphology assessed - results available if you wish.
14. Ardcairnie transfers the sold bulls to buyers’ PIC on the NLIS database as a service to clients.
15. Ardcairnie often has bulls available from their catalogue later in the year – when you might need one!
16. Ardcairnie transfers ownership of sold bulls to their new owners through Angus Australia.
17. The Zoetis STAR program means that all sale bulls (and our keeper ones too) are ear notch tested for BVDV and only included if they test free. (Ardcairnie Angus at Maybenup is to all intents and purposes BVDV free.)
18. Ardcairnie would use any of the bulls in their catalogue.
19. In 2015, Ardcairnie sold 63 bulls to 30 returning and 13 new buyers.
Sale Bulls 2016
Four bulls from the K mob have been retained for use at home; 75 are catalogued with 29 from 12 AI sires and 46 from 9 home-bred bulls, including 12 by Ardcairnie F96, one of the Cohort 3 in the Angus Sire Benchmarking Program.
Sons of some of the more recently available AI sires will be in fairly limited supply at WA bull sales this year, including Matauri Reality (4 in our catalogue), P A Power Tool (3), Connealy Confidence (only in the Ardcairnie catalogue - 6) and Waitaro Pio Federal (6).
Overall, 72 pregnancy tested in calf females were sold - 48 heifers to three buyers and 24 cows to one buyer. And we have one order from a potential buyer for next year!! If you are interested, just let us know!
The Angus Sire Benchmarking Program
Ardcairnie F96 (born 2010) was entered in the Cohort 3 of this program; F96 is the son of a home-bred bull Ardcairnie B59, whose sire was Booramooka Design Y120, a bull whose semen was available through the Angus Society Young Sire Program some years ago. F96 was one of 40 bulls in Cohort 3; results show him placed 7th for the BirthWeight EBV with 20 progeny; 17th for Gestation Length with 12 progeny, 21st for 200 day weight with 23 progeny, 18th for 400 day weight with 11 progeny, 10th for 600 day weight with 12 progeny, 2nd for EMA and 12th for IMF with 22 progeny, and 9th for NFI with 8 progeny.
Ardcairnie J27 has been entered in Cohort 6 - he is a son of USA sire Sydgen Trust 6228. We have been advised that through their Fixed Time AI program, he has been joined to 5 maiden heifers and 57 cows. Pregnancy testing will be done form early January through to mid-March.
In March 2014, three bores were drilled and cased, then two were equipped with solar powered submersible pumps to augment the stock water supplies form dams. The slightly saltier one was shandied with water from a nearby dam in the tank 500 metres away, although as the pumping continued, the saltiness reduced markedly; the second one had good quality water though a slower delivery, but kept the mob of heifers supplied.
On Tuesday 15th December, the drilling rig arrived again to drill four sites identified by our diviner a couple of months ago. The first one found reasonable water in a good supply at 44 metres so that one has been cased; the second one was still dry at 60 metres so that’s being thought about; the third and fourth sites will be drilled this week. Watch for the update next month!
Rainfall Plus on Maybenup
It has been an unusual rainfall year and challenging in most respects! Basically rainfall by the month - to 15th December averaged between the two gauges 5kms apart is:
So a total so far of 350mls or 14 inches
Bulls available for sale
We are sold out for 2015; all 60 bulls in the catalogue as well as 3 older bulls to assist clients in a fix.
Updating the sale statistics: of the 63 sold, 41 have gone to 30 returning clients and 22 have sold to 13 new Ardcairnie clients. This is to us an amazingly satisfying result - we value returning clients as that means that they are happy with previous purchases; we value new clients as they experience what Ardcairnie bulls can bring to their breeding programme.
And we repeat, a sincere thank you to all clients - returning and new! Customers are what make the business we enjoy possible.
The new bull comes home
Esslemont Bartel K5 is now recuperating (with the other two bulls used with the heifer mobs) having spent some active and enjoyable weeks with the K heifers.
One of the bulls we sold last year has produced four sets of twins! (The female half of the Ardcairnie Angus partnership is pointing out that the Dam does have something to do with it!! She thinks!)
Congratulations to Ric and Alison Wheatley of Bridgetown on winning the recent heifer competition with some of the heifers sired by an Ardcairnie bull.
Buyers so far this year, 24 repeat buyers and six new ones buying 42 bulls.
Our five keeper J bulls are WJMJ21 (by Sydgen Trust), WJMJ27 (also by Sydgen Trust), WJMJ28 (and another by Sydgen Trust!), WJMJ67 (by Te Mania Daiquiri) and WJMJ198 (by our homebred bull Ardcairnie F96).
Ardcairnie Angus Bull Sale: Tuesday 3rd February 2015
On the day, we penned 60 bulls, sold 29 through the auction process to a top of $11,600 with an average of $5,566. There were 34 registrations, 22 buyers with 21 returning and one new. Since then, seven have been sold, 3 to repeat buyers and 4 to new clients. Now 20 available with two more subject to semen re-test in May 2015. Contact us if you would like to see them in the paddock – 08 9831 0401 or 0417 942 326.
New Angus Selection Indexes
With the release of the December Group Breedplan Reports came the change from the “old” $Indexes to four new ones. One that may be useful to many commercial breeders is the Angus Breeding Index which is not specific to a particular production system or market end-point, but identifies animals that will improve overall profitability in the majority of commercial grass and grain finishing beef production systems. The others are a Domestic Index, a Heavy Grain Index and a Heavy Grass Index tailored to different markets. All the $Indexes have two factors in their calculations in common: they are all self-replacing herds and the daughters are retained for breeding. Full details are available on the Angus Australia website www.angusaustralia.com.au – just click on the More Information button under the heading. Or contact us and we will post you a Detailed Guide.
From the Bulls Page
Raising Ardcairnie Bulls
The potential sale bulls are grazed in one mob of about 100 head after weaning in November/December and the initial cull in February. This is done to apply the same planned grazing system used on all Maybenup acres. The group dynamics with that size of mob of young bulls is different to that of small mobs where pecking order tends to be easier to establish. The result is that Ardcairnie bulls are always in what is called "paddock condition" on sale day. The McGregors feel this offers clients a good opportunity to assess if the bull has the physical attributes they are looking for, and probably gives the bulls a better chance of a longer and more productive life.
Over the years, we have heard of Ardcairnie bulls being used for four, five, six and seven matings - very satisfying for us as breeders.
Genetic Conditions in the Angus Breed
All mammals, including humans, have genetic conditions which express themselves in a variety of ways. In the Angus breed, tests for four conditions have been developed in recent years. When the first such test became available in 2008 for Arthrogryposis Multiplex, AM) , Ardcairnie Angus decided that only bulls free by test (AMF) or by pedigree (AMFU) would be used in their herd or offered for purchase in their bull sale in 2009. A test for Neuropathic Hydrocephalus (NH) was developed in 2009, for Contractual Arachnodactyly (CA) in 2010 and for Developmental Duplication (DD) in 2013.
Ardcairnie has stuck to the decision made about AM in 2008, and so J bulls (2013 born) kept as breeders and offered in the 2015 bull sale catalogue are free by test or pedigree for all four conditions. While this has cost lots of dollars and painstaking checking (as things keep changing as more information comes to light), this policy means that even if your females (like some Ardcairnie ones) have a possibility of carrying one of these conditions, the progeny, by using free bulls, will not be affected.
Bulls used by Ardcairnie or offered for sale before testing information results in additional testing of their male progeny. Ardcairnie Angus has found that the incidence of AM, NH and CA has greatly reduced in the last three years, and it is likely that over time, the incidence of DD in the Ardcairnie Herd will also reduce.
It has been interesting looking at other bull sale catalogues: some give no explanation of the Genetic Conditions though each shows the status of each bull for the four genetic conditions. It seems, from prices here and in the Eastern States, that many buyers don’t mind if their purchase has a percentage (%) chance of a condition or is a carrier. While the customer is always right, Ardcairnie Angus will continue to use at home, and offer for purchase, bulls free by test or by pedigree of all four genetic conditions.
2015 Bull Sale Mob
As every bull available for purchase is cataloged (to give the widest choice of Ardcairnie genetics), our hope for bull sale day is that half will be sold. 60 were penned up, 29 sold though the auction process and four immediately after the sale. Of those 29, 13 sold at the printed reserve price (as did the four after the sale, as will those remaining in the catalogue - the price doesn’t drop with passing weeks). Competition for the other 16 saw buyers pay between $200 and $6,800 more - competition between buyers for our stock is very satisfying, especially as the three top selling bulls this year went to Angus Stud breeders.
A couple plus one of interesting books – summer time reading?
We’ve come across a couple of interesting books which you might like to read.
The first is Cows Save the Planet: and Other Improbable Ways of Restoring Soil to Heal the Earth; unmaking the deserts, rethinking climate change, bring back biodiversity and restoring nutrients to our food by Judith D Schwartz. Published in 2013, this book by journalist Judith Schwartz looks at soil as a crucible for our many overlapping environment, economic and social crises.
The Big Fat Surprise by Nina Teicholz. Published in 2014, investigative journalist Nina Teicholz reveals the unthinkable: everything we thought we knew about dietary fat is wrong!
Meat: A Benign Extravagance by Simon Fairlie. Published in 2010, this book shatters the consensus that we should avoid eating meat or raising any animals in order to save the planet (Review by The Daily Telegraph).
January 2015 Update
Nose rings were used again to wean the calves, leaving them with their mums for a couple of weeks before removing the rings. One vet student was here for the first job in late November; our second vet student in December helped with nose ring removal.
The McGregor's have been managing holistically for over 15 years which is why mobs are regularly talked about on their website and in newsletters. Normally, all the breeding cows are in one mob apart from during mating; the first calvers usually join the main mob as they come to the end of their calving. The fewer mobs there are, the more paddocks can rest and recover after grazing. Cover is always left on the paddocks to protect the little bugs working for us under the soil surface from the hot Aussie summer sun!
It’s interesting that one of the effects of the grazing programme (increased rest and recovery periods) has been the emergence of seedling trees in many of the paddocks! And there was a comment that Maybenup is one of the few farms in the district which still has lots of trees in the paddocks – cropping folk tend to like clear paddocks! Photographs coming in the gallery page.
Some keys to success - from December 2014
- Know when to do nothing.
- Recognise change and embrace it.
- Remember that nothing is really new.
- Focus on what you like.
Sires of the 2014 born (K) calves
With the August Breedplan Ardcairnie Report to hand, it’s interesting to see the status of the bulls we chose as sires for this year’s calves well over a year ago. Three of them unfortunately tested as carriers for the Genetic Condition Development Duplication last August so that will mean some additional testing of their male progeny. Some other sires are new to Australia and until they have calves recorded by us, don’t appear in our Ardcairnie Report.
Coonamble Elevator E11 and Te Mania Emperor E343 are trait leaders for 200, 400 and 600 day weights; Te Mania Berkley B1 is a trait leader for nine of the EBVs and his stable mate, Te Mania Daiquiri D19, for seven; Booramooka Inspired E124 is a trait leader for Gestation Length and Intramuscular Fat; Highlander of Stern AB for Scrotal Size; Ardrossan Casino C18 for 600 Day weight; Sydgen C C & 7 for Milk and SAV Birthstone 8258 for Calving Ease, Birth Weight and Scrotal Size. Of our home-bred bulls, Ardcairnie E122 is a trait leader for 200, 400 and 600 Day Weights, and Ardcairnie E36 for Calving Ease Direct.
We have had some test results back for genetic condition testing based on the genetic condition status of the sires and dams of the K bull calves so potential carriers can be eliminated early. Of the 49 tested, 16 turned out to be carriers for the Developmental Duplication condition (DD) and so will face a different future than that of a breeding sire. Ardcairnie Angus continues to use or offer for sale only bulls free of genetic conditions either by test or by pedigree.
ANGUS WA Spring Walk
With careful planning of mob moves, both Jim and Pam attended the Spring Walk based in Bunbury. Several cattle visits as well as some fine dining and wine tasting with a group of cattle enthusiasts (you don’t have to be an Angus breeder to participate!) made for a very enjoyable 35 hours away from the farm.
Seven Lovely Logics for September:
Make peace with your past so it doesn’t spoil your present.
What others think of you is none of your business
Time heals almost everything, give the time, some time.
No one is the reason for your happiness except you yourself.
Don’t compare your life with others; you have no idea what their jopurney is about.
Stop thinking too much as it’s alright not to know all the answers.
Smile! You don’t own all the problems in the world.
August 2014 Points to Ponder from Albert Einstein
"I know why there are so many people who love chopping wood. In this activity one immediately sees the results."
"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler."
"Art is the expression of the profoundest thought in the simplest way."
"Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value."
Murdoch University Extramural Farm Experience Scheme
Since 2008, the McGregors have hosted 21 students – five boys and 16 girls – as they enjoy sharing what happens on Maybenup and with Ardcairnie Angus.
In early December 2011, we were invited to attend the Graduation and Registration Day for the graduating students from the University, and we were thrilled to see five of "our" students graduate! It was a privilege and honour to share their success.
Interestingly, three students so far have been Canadians, choosing for a variety of reasons to study at Murdoch. The Veterinary qualification from Murdoch has a very good reputation world-wide. And perhaps surprisingly, there have been several vegetarians and vegans which has challenged the cook side of our enterprise, as we choose to supply full board to the students.
June 2014 Points to Ponder
"There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." Albert Einstein
"Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards." Anon
"Contentment is not the fulfillment of what you want, but the realisation of how much you already have." Anon
"What you make of your life is up to you." Cherie Carter-Scott
April / May 2014 points to ponder:
A journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step.
Children are the world’s most valuable resource and its best hope for the future. (John F Kennedy)
If you are not giving the world the best you have, what world are you saving it for?
Plan for the future because that is where you you are going to spend the rest of your life (Mark Twain)
Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you will land among the stars.
The amount of sleep required by the average person is just five minutes more!
Drilling! - first posted in May 2014
Water supply when you are a stock farm (especially cattle – they drink 10 gallons/day) and with very little run-off last year (thank heavens for the four inches in September!), we decided to check out underground possibilities. A well experienced diviner came up from Albany, suggested three sites; drilling was done and water of varying quality found at varying depths. All three were cased and quotes obtained for solar pumps for two of them, one at the north end and one at the south. Both are now equipped with submersible pumps powered by a fixed solar array. The north one is comfortably (so far except when there is no sun at all) supplying its good quality water for the mob of 170 yearling heifers. The south end one will be turned on when the cow mob moves into those paddocks later this month. See some photos in the Gallery page.
Angus Longevity - first posted in May 2014
Ardcairnie U33 (originally Stud but now Commercial) was born on 6th May 1999. She had her first calf in 2002 and has had one every year since - seven heifers and five bulls / steers. This morning - Mothers Day 11th May 2014 - she gave birth to her 13th calf - another heifer! We are delighted!
March 2014 – some things to think about:
Overnight success usually takes about 15 years.
Your body shows its age when you sink your teeth into a steak and they stay there.
Your mind is like a parachute: it only functions properly when it is open.
Enthusiasm is caught, not taught.
If all economists were laid end to end, they still wouldn’t reach a conclusion.
2014 Bull Sale - 4th February 2014
The day exceeded many of our usual expectations! There were 34 registrations (up 3 from 2013), 27 buyers (19) with 15 repeat buyers (15) and 12 new clients (4).
We had catalogued 63 bulls, penned up 55 on sale day, sold 33 through the auction process (12 at the published reserve price, 21 at between $200 and $5000 more) and another seven immediately after the sale. That left 15, of which a further two were sold on 11th February so at this present date (Sunday 16th February 2014) there are 13 bulls available now for purchase.
The catalogue of available bulls in PDF format is here. In addition there a further 8 bulls either awaiting semen re-tests, recovering from lameness and other transient conditions and they may be available in a month or so – update in the March update on this website.
Sale day is a happy day for us as we have the chance to catch up with old friends and meet new folk and 2014 was no exception. Pam has a couple of helpers to do the leg work which enables her to have time to chat (for those of you who haven’t met Pam, she uses two walking sticks as a result of a car accident in 1973) so that help from a couple of friends is essential to the day – this year, thank you Sheryn and Catriona! And there is also a small team help make up the Angus Beef rolls for the ,lunch – this year, thank you to Sheryn and Catriona as well as Jo and Penny
February 2014: Quotes from “Have a Little Faith” by Mitch Albom
Nobody is perfect - be willing to accept people as they are.
Secret of Happiness: Be Satisfied; Be Grateful – for what you have, for the love you receive, for what God has given you.
Don’t judge people by what they own.
Getting old we can deal with. Being old is the problem.
We are aware that transit insurance cover under standard Farm Pack Policies do not always extend cover for stud stock (which our buls are sold as). Many of these insurance companies do provide specialist Stud Stock policies separately. The ownership of a bull transfers to the buyer at the fall of the hammer. Therefore if you require your bulls to be insured for the trip home or even for wider cover, you need to arrange the insurance prior to the fall of the hammer, at the fall of the hammer or as soon as possible afterwards. For your convenience, we have arranged for our local Elders Insurance Authorised Representative (who is authorised to cover your bulls at the fall of the hammer) to join us at the Bull Sale should you wish to avail yourself of their advice and assistance.
January 2014: Points to Ponder
If you want to feel rich, just count all the things you have that money can’t buy...
Too bad all the people who know how to run the country are too busy driving taxi cabs and cutting hair...
Common sense is genius dressed in its working clothes...
The way I see it, if you want the rainbows, you gotta put up with the rain...
The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary!
Government House Visit
Jim and Pam were privileged and honoured to be present at Government House in early September to see fellow Angus Breeder, Lew Smit of Koojan Hills, presented with his Order of Australia Medal (OAM) – an honour awarded and richly deserved for Lew’s service to the cattle industry in Australia and to his community of Kojonup. It was a very special and happy day.
(originally posted October 2013)
An unexpected email arrived on 28th September with photos of two eight year old Ardcairnie Bulls . . . read more
(originally posted October 2013)
November 2013: Quotes from Life's Little Instruction Book
"Learn to listen. Opportunity knocks very softly."
"Never underestimate the power of a kind word or deed."
"Watch a sunrise at least once a year."
"Give people the benefit of the doubt."
"Be there when people need you."
"Drink champagne for no reason at all!"
Website Copyright Ardcairnie Angus | Updated 10 December 2017