Steve and Jenny Herries are steadily gaining a reputation for their female family lines and with this comes longevity in both their females and bulls, proving that female selection over the year is working. We now Embryo Transfer from our elite breeding females, along with flushing for export.
Interest from Australia has seen four Alpine Angus cows flushed over the last two years and this interest still continues today.
Having recently returned from visiting five Australian studs and talking with a varied cross section of breeders, we noticed all the talk is about EBVs and the high priority that is placed on this alone. You could be forgiven wondering how the breed ever survived and flourished without them.
Alpine utilises EBV data to help aid sire selection, as it is a wonderful tool for estimating potential progeny. But at the end of the day whether you judge cattle first on structural soundness or on EBVs, you surely need both? We believe they complement each other and help assess your breeding programme.
The fact is you need a good set of feet and well-formed testicles to breed from. This is just one area we see being compromised.
As we do not chase EBVs solely our structural soundness is not jeopardised.
Bulls may also have all the scanning details to envy but can they do their job and are they lasting the distance on stations?
A well respected cattle breeder said to Steve "Son you have to like what you're looking at, it makes you want to get out of bed. No computer is going to help my bull walk over them hills. He has to look like a bull and act like one too." You can't argue with that!
We believe we are on track to stay true to the Angus Breed by breeding cattle that are fertile maternal breeders, structurally sound to last the distance, a temperament for ease of handling, a phenotype to be proud of and the EBV tools available to help with that selection decision.
Temperament is also a very important trait we pride ourselves in delivering. We get so much positive feedback from clients on how quiet our bulls are to handle. To see them quietly working on these large stations is testament, one that will follow through to their off-spring.
We still buy at dispersals and still only chase certain family lines. This has been and continues to be the strength in our herd. At the National Beef Expo last year, we bought the pick of the 2010 heifers from Turihaua Stud.
In partnership with Australian breeders, Glengowan Angus she too will be flushed for export. Presently in calf to Sir Crumble, we look forward to her first calf.
Sires taking us into the future
Over the past decade we focussed on selecting sires that leave behind strong female phenotype. BT Right Time 24J, an AI sire from the States, has done just that. Many of his daughters we retain in herd, with his sons for sale at this year's Auction.
With our next Stud Sire purchase, we were looking for a bull with presence and grunt. We bought Sir Crumble in 2011 from Turihaua, but on the day of sale much interest was generated around this bull. So in order to secure him a partnership was formed with Grant and Sue Crawshaw of Kenhardt Angus, having to pay $41,000 before the hammer was knocked down.
Used over both herds for his first mating season he was a busy boy and came away with top pregnancy results. He has a fantastic temperament and is a bull that draws your eye too.
We started out with the purchase of one heifer in 1991 from Te Ohu dispersal. Then over the next ten years we went about purchasing top females from Lairdvale, Rakaiatai, Ruahine, Shian and Kahuitara dispersals. These have gone on to be our foundation cows.
We bought Kahika 6 53 at Nelisons dispersal in 1999, who is now aged 13. Kahika's a great breeder of females and many have been retained in herd - Alpine 270 for example.
A lucky break came in 2001, when an aged herd sire Tangiahu 150, who was born in 1992 was offered to us for his retirement days. He had been used by 24 herds across Australasia and was instrumental in creating a phenotype, in our herd. We still use his semen today.