When we bought the first Aubracs in France some of the breeders there, advised us to buy from just one breeder to start with an even herd. We decided not to go down that route as we were not sure what would suit us and the Irish conditions best. Our first bull was Nemrod from Jean-Claude Ramon’s herd. He turned out to be an excellent sire of dams and most of the herd is related to him or his son Toowoomba. We bought other stock bulls over the years, some were good but some did not turn out as well (temperament of progeny was not good enough) and we killed a lot of their offspring. The same goes for the females families. Any cow or replacement heifer that does not fit within the parameters set is culled. 18 years down the road, we now have a fair idea of the type of animal we want. We want a steady cow with good milk, easy kept, easy calved (wide pelvis) with good legs that produces a good quality and steady calf. We like deep cows. Depth means deep gut well able to digest roughage, deep chest with big lungs and heart. We like a cow that will last and produce a lot of calves from the original investment (this also allows to sell more heifers if they are not needed for replacements). We also want an even herd. We have kept cows from a minimum number of stock bulls to attempt to set the traits we were looking for. With a homogenous herd of cows with similar strong traits, it becomes easier to have an even result. The bull cannot do everything.
We joined Herdplus and use their results as guidelines. The results we find accurate, some of the ratings not as much. By increasing the amount of data going in to Herdplus, the ratings will become more accurate in time. The reports we get back which include an update on animals that have left the herd (stock bulls-kill outs) are interesting. We find the weighing a very good indication of what the animals can deliver within our system. We have also joined the new Maternal Beef Breeding Program.