Breeding Bulls for South Island Hill and High Country conditions
The development of the "Meadowslea Hill Country Type" has been the result of 25 years of selecting animals that perform the best in our hash hill country environment. Cows that can winter easily on the hill without supplements, stay in good order, calve easily and get back in calf early every year for 10 years has been the focus of our breeding programme. By putting pressure on cows to winter on native hill blocks it quickly became apparent that some animals could manage well in this environment and would easily get back in calf the next year, while those that struggled would be too light going to the bull, and either calve later each year, or come through dry."
Those that were dry or were not holding their condition well enough were removed from the stud herd, while the "easy-doing" types that thrived, passed their genetics on to the next generation. It soon became clear that it was the cows with good fat covers going in to the winter that were consistently performing the best in our environment.
With the introduction of Ultra-Sound scanning for Rib and Rump Fat we discovered the Meadowslea herd had positive fat EBV's that were at the very top of the range for the breed in Australasia.
These great positive fat EBV's in the Meadowslea herd have come about simply by selecting animals that suit the Hill Country environment.
Graph showing improvement in fat EBVs at Meadowslea while running the herd on hill country, compared with Australasian average. From Angus Breedplan report May 2016.
Over 75% of the bulls in this catalogue have Rib and Rump Fat EBV's in the top 20% for all Angus calves born in Australasia in 2014.
Our objectives are to breed bulls for the South Island hill and high country conditions.
We run our stud cows as close to a commercial operation as possible with cows working hard on the tussock and any showing the slightest weakness in constitution or structural soundness culled.
All yearling heifers have the opportunity of the bull and anything not in calf is culled. Only after proving they can raise a good calf and stay in good order on the tussock are the 2 ½ year old heifers selected for the herd.
We believe good fat cover is essential for cattle to survive and thrive in the harder South Island hill and high country areas where we and the majority of our bull clients farm.