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.
It is not possible to directly compare Angus against MG bulls using their Breedplan figures because they come from different baseline figures. However, a reasonable comparison can be made by comparing the bull against the respective breed average. Bartel E7’s Breedplan data in the Angus database are very good with no weaknesses. His docility EBV has weakened since we used him.
The most valuable comparison in our herd will be against Wallawong Vanilla whose Breedplan figures are shown below against the MG average figures:
Dajory Gainsford is our heifer bull and a useful comparison for birthweight and carcase performance but not for growth figures:
The calves in the drop were by:
Ayrvale Bartel E7 – 11 calves
Cadfor Hornblower H163 (the backup bull) – 2 calves
Wallawong Vanilla – 7 calves (his first calves)
Dajory Gainsford – 8 calves (out of heifers)
On birthweights the averages were Bartel 39.6 kg, Vanilla 41.6 kg, Hornblower 39 kg and Gainsford 36.3 kg. Two of Gainsford’s calves were pulled out of heifers but no other assistance was required at calving. It might be expected that Bartel’s calves should have been lighter given his position in the top 10% in Angus for calving ease and birthweight.
To date the average daily gains of the calves by the respective sires have been Bartel 1.40 kg/day, Vanilla 1.25 kg/day and Gainsford 1.09 kg/day. These growth figures have to consider the production potential of the respective dams. Gainsford’s calves were all out of 2 year old heifers and can be discounted. Bartel was used in superior females – the 11 cows have had an average of 3.7 calves and their previous calves have grown at an average of 1.43 kg/day to 200 days. Vanilla was used on 7 cows that have had 3.9 calves and their previous calves have grown at 1.30 kg/day to 200 days which is about average in our herd. So in this season to date the calves by both Bartel and Vanilla have grown slightly less per day than the previous calves from those cows. A further assessment will be conducted after the 200 day weights are recorded.
The other factor of interest in comparing Angus versus Murray Grey is temperament. For some reason the Bartel calves have a propensity to turn around in the race and run back to the start which the MGs did not do so often.
Overall the Angus calves are an even bunch and quite attractive. Of the four male calves, two were castrated and the other two might make useful composite bulls. The heifers will come into our breeding program to be compared for their production against our Greys..