Musings

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Last year we used semen from the leading Angus sire, Ayrvale Bartel E7, in some of our best Murray Grey cows. The main reason was to get a benchmark to compare some top Angus calves against those of our breeding. The calves are on the ground now and we have been reviewing the experiment.

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I remember reading an interesting paper entitled “Effect of breed on the profitability of commercial beef production” written by Holmes and Sackett some years ago but I mislaid it. Going through some files I found it again and reproduce the findings here.

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We have used turkey manure for over 20 years at Picton and Binda with excellent results. Turkey manure provides phosphorus at about two thirds the price of superphosphate plus nitrogen, potash, calcium and a range of micro-nutrients thrown in.

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When we bought here in 2001 the paddocks looked pretty run down so we did some soil tests. The level of phosphorous and other nutrients was very low with the Colwell test for phosphorus only 5 ppm. A soil chemist commented that he had seen lower but those samples came from China. The suggested critical level is about 30 ppm.

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At the request of Dr Robert Churchill of Crookwell Veterinary Hospital I have done a brief evaluation of the subconjunctival injection of antibiotic and steroid as a treatment for pink eye in cattle caused by Morexella bovis.

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You see a bull described as a ‘curve bender’, so what does this mean? In essence it means that, although the bull has above average growth in his calves, they have below average birthweights. In other words his calves are born small but grow fast – the Holy Grail of bull breeding!

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We have been breeding Murray Greys for 40 years. After a lifetime of breeding we are more enthusiastic than ever about the breed and about the quality of animals that we now offer the commercial cattle breeder.

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We put a 20 litre bucket of granular urea into the licker drum followed by two 20 litre drums of molasses. We then add water from a fire hose (between 80 – 120 litres) to mix it up. It does not dissolve at this time but will do so over the next 24 hours.

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