Bullish about genetics

IT is one of Tasmania’s longest-running stud operations with about 80 years of breeding history and later this month the Valma Poll Herefords will once again host an on-property bull sale.

Owners Andrew and Caroline McLauchlan have decided to relaunch the on-farm sales after having a break for a few years. The sale will be held on Wednesday March 22 from 2pm.

“We just thought there was a need there to come back into it,” Mr McLauchlan said. “The way the cattle market has been, we thought we’ve got a great selection of bulls coming through, so we want to get a bit more exposure for the bulls.”

Mr McLauchlan said they were again focusing more on the cattle side of their operation, which also involves sheep.

“We’re ramping things up again with the cattle, the ram sales have been really good, but the cattle have sort of taken a back seat I suppose over the last few years,” he said. “We’re really happy with the cattle and we wanted a bit more exposure for them.”

The sale will include 29 bulls with 21 from Valma and eight from Cam Clement’s Nova stud. About half of the bulls being offered for sale are sired by Yarawa South Paradise. The studs purchased Paradise in 2020 for $55,000 when he was the top-priced bull at the breed’s national show and sale at Wodonga in Victoria.

“Paradise has bred exceptionally well for us,” he said. “The first time I saw a video of him, without knowing any of his figures or details, his balance and beautiful shoulders and the beautiful deep hindquarter really stood out. I think it’s something that a lot of animals are lacking and I like to see animals with beautiful hindquarters and he had good sound figures without being through the roof.”

Mr McLauchlan said the bulls Paradise has sired were showing plenty of length and depth. In their breeding program, he said they were focusing on a number of traits including milk and calving ease.

“I don’t think we are necessarily going for really low birth weights as long as the shape of the animals is right and the calving ease is there. A moderate birth rates across the board is good with a few variances in there for people.”

Mr McLauchlan said with a number of Angus cow herds in Tasmania, Poll Hereford bulls offered an opportunity to bred baldie calves which are known to perform well. “I think there’s massive potential for baldie calves and a lot of people know they really do a great job,” he said. “Not everyone wants to do that, but I think it’s a great cross. They weigh well and you get that hybrid vigour as well.”

He said the Hereford breed’s outstanding temperament was another bonus.

“We some clients which have got other breeds and put our bulls over them and they’re really happy because they can handle them,” he said.

The McLauchlan family has been involved with both sheep and cattle stud breeding for four generations and Mr McLauchlan said it was something they still enjoyed. “It’s something Caroline and I both really enjoy doing together and we’re very lucky to be able to do that too,” Mr McLauchlan said.