Prime Angus came into being 14 years ago with the purchase of females from several high profile angus seedstock producers. Cows were sourced from the Merric Rivers dispersal, Green Valley and Blackmore Studs amongst others.
In 2003, 40 heifer calves were purchased from Te Mania. The latter, with their impeccable temperament, structural correctness and excellent growth and carcase traits have had the most profound and lasting influence on the Prime herd as it is today.
Nine years later, thirty of those original females remained in the herd. Sadly early in 2012 we farewelled the remaining 10 year old matrons who had served us so well. Newer genetics provided by their daughters and granddaughters will continue to produce a strong line up of yearling bulls for our February sale, and replacement heifers are introduced each year to continually improve the genetics within the herd.
Prime Angus has been a closed herd since 2003 and is assessed as MN3.
Peter's veterinary background, together with his sound knowledge of animal husbandry and nutrition have been invaluable in continuing the breeding program to where it stands today. Along the way, the very best Austrailian and US sires have been used in extensive AI programs.
Those which have had the most impact have been Future Direction( providing outstanding mothering abilities, structural soundness and excellent carcase traits), Kenny's Creek Sandy( for great phenotype), and Te Mania Ulong( for excellent carcase traits).
More recently, Te Mania Yorkshire and Lawsons Dinky Di have amped things up in the growth and carcase stakes for the long fed market. More recently, sires such as Ardrossan Equator, Carabar Docklands, Tuwharetoa Regent and Te Mania Emperor will provide more growth and carcase impact. In an effort to broaden the gene pool, sire such as SAV Thunderbird, Cherylton Stewie and Bennett Absolute have also been used.
Initially bulls were sold by private treaty. The drought of 2006 forced us to re evaluate our business plan to improve efficiency, reduce costs and find a point of difference in the angus market. Rather than go down the path of buying /leasing more land, we made the decision to test the market's attitude towards buying true yearling bulls(11 - 12 months). Although common in the US, Australia had not yet embraced the idea. In February 2007, we held the first on property yearling bull sale by Helmsman auction. Some would say our timing could not have been worse. 2006 was truly an appalling year and the only time in our 23 years at Glenwellyn that we were unable to conserve any fodder. However, the bad year may have worked in our favour. There was generally very little spare funds available to farmers, many of whom had stretched themselves too far buying in fodder and in some cases water. The idea of spending just half of their usual bull budget made financial sense. Although the average price was low, there was a total clearance and the feedback from that sale was very positive. Many of those original sale bulls are still working well. and we have had a recent enquiry from a client wishing to sell on his 6year old bull who was considered "too good to have his head cut off"
Our small but savvy band of repeat customers have grown used to the idea of buying 12 month old bulls. They understand a little more care is required but that it is a longer term investment in genetics which can really pay dividends. Customers know they will be able to access an extremely high calibre of angus genetics without the high price tag.
Our cow herd demonstrates the direction of our breeding program and our aims to achieve the twin goals of high growth with calving ease. We know our customers will be using their bulls over maiden heifers in the first year. Therefore every bull must satisfy the second criterium, but not at the expense of growth. We are maintaining our 200, 400 and 600 Day growth EBV'S in line with current trends despite the calving ease imperative.
Presenting 12 month old bulls in sale ready condition is not an easy task. There is little room for error in management and the calves cannot sustain any growth checks. In another departure from current trends of spring calving and early weaning, we autumn calve and the bulls remain on their mothers for as long as the season allows. This ususally means nine to ten months. Farming in a high rainfall area means we are able to achieve this without great financial cost. Calves are heavy enough coming into spring to benefit from the flush of high quality feed. And breeding for a high milk EBV means we have mothers who can really perform. They easily wean a heavy calf in December which we can then present for sale 10 - 12 weeks later at a healthy 500+kg. Sale bulls usually range from 530kg(out of two year old heifers), through to 650kg. Three months later, the bulls are working over small numbers(about 25) on our customers farms.
We understand bull buyers need versality in the calves they produce to make the most of market demand. Our focus is on the Angus Breeding Index. Whether producers choose to sell weaners or bullocks or anything in between, Prime Angus bulls will maximise the weights of animals for sale. We have traditionally chosen sires which are highly positive for rib and rump fat. This means the steers have the frame but they will also finish well for a short fed domestic program. At the end of the day, we are breeding animals which produce the best quality meat, so carcase traits feature highly in our sire selection
Excellent temperament is also high on our list of must have's, as is overall structure particularly with feet and legs. Bulls are structurally assessed by Ian Moreland of Studcare Genetics prior to sale.
When looking to buy an angus bull, the choice for customers is enormous.
Prime Angus specialises in producing 12 month old bulls in forward condition ready to work at 14 to 15 months. That is all we do and we believe we do it well.
Yearling bulls allow the introduction of elite genetics into herds much earlier thereby increasing the rate of improvement in the cow herd.
Customers should get a longer life out of each bull thereby lowering the cost of production. (More calves per bull purchased.)
The initial cost of purchasing a yearling is substantially lower than that of a comparable 2 year old.
Yearlings generally fit into a new environments more easily.
It makes sense to utilise the youthful exuberance of yearlings. They are young, lean, fit and absolutely up to the task.
The calving ease of a Prime Angus yearling is second to none.
If you haven't entertained the thought of using a young bull, please contact us. We are confident you will be pleasantly surprised.