Business Rural Autumn 201

| 45 Simmental ‘best terminal sire there is’ Virginia Wright MEAT & WOOL » Leafland Simmentals G iven that he grew up on a cattle farm in South Africa it’s perhaps not surprising that Everd Strauss now farms 1200 acres known as Leafland Stud, in Mosgiel. It becomes more surpris- ing when you find out that when he’s not working on the farm he’s a full-time practicing anaesthetist at Dunedin Hospital. Simmental is his breed of choice and while he was always attracted by the way they look, even back in South Afrcia, it’s the other attributes he knew they had that drew him to them. “They’re probably the best terminal sire there is,” says Everd, “and that’s now been shown in the beef progeny test that’s been going on for the last five or so years. The Simmental is outperforming all the other breeds being tested such as Charolais, Hereford, Angus and Stabiliser, especially when it comes to growth, Their 200, 400, and 600 day growth is top rate.” 30 years ago the Strauss family started out with 100 acres and three heifers. This year they’ll scan close to 300 females and expect to calve around 250. They have the current crop of around 225 calves on the ground and with the addition of the rising 2’s to be sold this year they now carry between 600 and 700 animals. Their next bull sale is on farm on May 26th. There are four Simmental breeders in the lower South Island and the market sits steadily around 80 bulls per season. That’s something Everd thinks won’t change unless they break into the dairy industry, which he thinks is unlikely to happen because of the sheer size of the Simmental cattle. “Back in South Africa they cross them with Friesians and milk the Simmental-Friesian progeny. Here they’re most often used as a terminal sire over a cross-breed, white-faced cow and those calves are always sought after at the calf sales. I’d like to see that market expand and really, as a terminal sire, I can’t understand why everybody’s not using a Simmental.” Not only carcass traits and structure but also temperament are taken into consideration with the Leafland Stud breeding programme. “Any animal that doesn’t have a very quiet tem- perament doesn’t stay in the herd,” Everd explains. “And then we look for all the other traits. All the progeny are scanned annually at a certain age to look for intramuscular fat, fat cover over certain areas, muscle size and so on, and that combines “Back in South Africa they cross them with Friesians and milk the Simmental-Friesian progeny. Here they’re most often used as a terminal sire over a cross-breed, white-faced cow and those calves are always sought after at the calf sales. I’d like to see that market expand and really, as a terminal sire, I can’t understand why everybody’s not using a Simmental.” www.mur raysvetmosgiel . co.nz Hours: Mon - Fri 9am - 5pm | Evening Mon - Thurs 7pm - 7.30pm 10 Dukes Road South, RD2, Mosgiel Ph (03) 489 5540 Fax (03) 489 5544 Companion animal services; including orthopaedic and rehabilitation. Lifestyle, equine and production animal health 11am Wednesday 26 May 2021 20th annual on farm simmental bull sale 20 Simmental Bulls with structure and temperament to achieve the animals we’re after.” More recently they’ve also been concentrating on breeding for polled bulls to sell that will leave polled offspring, thereby limiting or eliminating the need for dehorning. The bulls that aren’t sold are grown out on farm and sold straight to the works. Last year they had under two-year-olds weighing in at over 450kgs carcass weight and, although Simmental don’t have the sort of brand recognition that comes with the names Hereford or Angus, Everd is confident about the quality of their meat for two good reasons. “The feedback we get back from the odd beast that we kill is that the meat is amazing, and in New Zealand last year the winner of the Steak of Origin was a Simmental from the North Island.” That’s a good sign given that the meat is all killed and prepared centrally, tested for tenderness, and blind tasted by top chefs. Waiting for the Simmental to get the recognition they deserve in no way diminishes Everd’s pleasure in farming them however. “It’s a challenge to achieve a structurally correct, quiet animal with all the desired production traits, but that’s what I enjoy,” he explains. Which is why in calving season he can be found every morning in the shed at 6am,enjoying a form of exercise hard to find anywhere else, as he weighs and tags the calves before moving them into fresh paddocks. Breeding a ‘structurally correct, quiet animal with all the desired production traits’, is a challenge that Leafland Simmentals’s Everd Strauss enjoys. The stud’s next bull sale is on May 26.

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