Farm Online

Dual arms bolster Angus business

DATA: With a conception to plate philosophy, Gilmandyke Pastoral, Orange, NSW has established a deep database of breeding figures used to drive selection in both the commercial herd and the stud operation.

This is branded content for Gilmandyke Pastoral.

TO use a sporting term, Gilmandyke Pastoral puts its money where its mouth is.

While many cattle studs spruik traits and bull structure to clients promising big gains, the central western NSW Angus business puts the emphasis on its commercial cattle herd first, supported by its stud.

In fact, the stud grew out of a requirement to provide suitable bulls for the commercial operation.

Gilmandyke Pastoral is based on the historic property Kangaroobie, 13km from Orange on the Mitchell Highway towards Dubbo.

It covers five holdings across the Central West of NSW, including properties at Rockley, Molong, and Harden.

It draws its name from the famous creek that ran through the family's first property in Triangle Flat which began in 1971 by Belinda Bateman and her late husband, Edmund.

But its the motto, "always commercially focused", which gives a true indication of its strength.

Stud born from commercial need

The stud narrows in on the maternal lines that produce the bulls used in its own commercial herd as well as those sold to clients.

Afterall, females are the profit drivers in the breeding operation, according to the Gilmandyke philosophy.

The Angus operation is based on cows from the Narrangullen dispersal sale.

The focus remains on structure, doing-ability and fertility.

COOPERATION: Gilmandyke Pastoral general manager Wade Peatman says the commercial and the stud operations work closely with each other.

General manager Wade Peatman says the stud was basically developed to breed a desired article for the commercial herd.

"Eventually we started breeding our own bulls and it developed on from that," he said.

"We've always had a commercial operation."

It's what gives it a key difference.

"We are out there to prove the product on our own country first," Mr Peatman said.

The cow herd has developed into what it is today with the strength of such families as the Bonney, Eutesca, Emillesque and more recently Dream and Bara families.

This is hard data in a commercial operation so we find it's got a lot more weight behind it.

- Wade Peatman, general manager, Gilmandyke Pastoral, Orange, NSW.

The stud herd is guided and driven by its own need to produce highly functional commercial females that perform both maternally in the paddock while producing high performance to the farm gate.

Backing the selection process has been an intense data collection strategy running for many years.

According to Mr Peatman, this "conception to plate" traceability makes it possible to sell cattle according to a client's individual, specific wants.

For example, a purchaser looking to sell weaners at six months of age will be guided to a specific bull.

"We track every element," he said.

"We do a huge amount of measurement in that degree.

"Within our commercial herd, we have sire identified probably 70 per cent of our calves these days and we will track them through their entire life; how they grow, what weight gains they do, to how many females we retain.

"So we get a really good picture of what a bull is doing for our herd.

"This is hard data in a commercial operation so we find it's got a lot more weight behind it."

He said all studs are looking to have a "nice shiny-looking bull" but when a producer starts looking at flow-on results like conception rates versus how many retained females and the carcase data, extra details prove valuable.

"We track our animals not only on-farm but we also get the kill data from the feedlots we sell into," he said.

Cooperation key to dual operations

THE two arms of Gilmandyke Pastoral work closely together with a stud manager and a commercial manager in constant communication.

Mr Peatman said the commercial manager is the number one client.

"He takes 20 bulls out of the system every year so it's very important to get that right," he said.

There is a challenge in creating the right mix between maternal strength and commercial performance with strong maternal lines in highly fertile, functional females on one side and high value output performance on the other.

The genetics are tested and refined through the commercial herd of 2800 cows.

"We try and see the value in every female," Mr Peatman said.

"Obviously there are going to be some that don't make it for whatever reason.

"The whole operation is 100pc self-replacing.

"So that puts huge emphasis on our females and the importance of that they can go in calf and rear a calf.

INFO: Gilmandyke Pastoral tracks every element of each animal's growth, providing both the commercial herd and stud with a huge amount of data to base selection on.

"Traits like producing a live calf, that phenotype we are looking for, weight gains, carcase quality through to the other end."

The stud operation has about 500 cows within it, however some are there purely as embryo recipients.

The commercial cattle are turned off to the feedlot market with the destination dependent on prices offered.

That said, about 90 per cent of Gilmandyke Pastoral steers have gone up to the Kerwee Feedlot on Queensland's Darling Downs in the past five years.

From there they go into a 200-day longfed program which is on high end feed, ready to go into Japan.

Mr Peatman said the operation had had a "huge spring" resulting in plenty of grass heading into winter.

This is branded content for Gilmandyke Pastoral.