DUBBO-based builders Greg Bennett and Robert Lister, BLD Constructions, are watching their latest calves with interest.
Three years ago they decided to branch out with a sideline cattle business, and for the first time some of this year’s calves have been sired by a Gelbvieh bull.
Previously they were using Angus bulls.
They started with 34 Santa Gertrudis breeding cows and today run 120 breeders, including 40 Santa Gertrudis/Angus heifers, which were joined to the Gelbvieh bull.
Because the men are primarily builders, all the cattle are on agistment at two properties west of Tottenham and at Edithville, between Dubbo and Warren.
The pair decided to use a Gelbvieh bull upon the advice of Mr Bennett’s friend Gary Burton at Dubbo.
Mr Bennett said the Gelbvieh brought hybrid vigour to the herd, and the low birthweight of Gelbvieh progeny and their ability to produce good milking genetics were two important features.
The pair have had no troubles with calving this year due to the small calves.
“We’ve not lost calves,” Mr Bennett said.
The men buy and sell cattle out of the Dubbo saleyards and believe the Gelbvieh progeny will be an ideal weight to sell on the vealer market.
“It looks like they’ve got a good weight for selling as vealers which is what we will do; take them off their mums and sell them,” he said.
In the past they sold some steers at 15 months and some at 10 months, and did much better with the vealers than the older cattle.
The previous Santa Gertrudis/Angus cross calves were about 320 kilograms when sold as vealers, and Mr Bennett hoped the current progeny – being the first with Gelbvieh blood – would be a bit heavier.
“They look more solid as they grow and mature, and I think they will be heavier,” Mr Bennett said.
They are still crossbreeding Santa Gertrudis cattle with an Angus bull and that will probably continue in the future.
“The plan is to buy some more Santa Gertrudis cattle, and join them to Angus and continue to join them to the Gelbvieh bull,” he said.
While not fully involved in the cattle industry, Mr Bennett said they kept a “bit of an eye” on things, and said while the Gelbvieh was not a common breed there were a few more Gelbvieh bulls starting to appear in commercial herds.
“I think there’s a good future for them especially with their background in good milking genetics and easy calving,” he said.
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