Page 4 - Mcfadzean Yearling 2021
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My father was a returned serviceman and over his farming career put together the original Glenbrae farm of 400 acres – a mixed dairy and sheep farm. The benefits of cross breeding were highlighted to me at a young age. As a 18 year old my father allowed me to select sires to mate with his 90 dairy cows.
I selected high value AI sires and crossed Jersey and Friesian, dependent on the fat content in their milk. The percentage of each breed did not matter. There was an immediate lift in production from each crop of heifers introduced into the herd.
A very high producing herd was sold six years later in 1975.
The lucky generation
Looking back I consider myself one of the lucky generation who started sheep farming at a time when the government of the
day provided concessional loans for young farmers aspiring to farm ownership. I was able to purchase a 500 acre property 5 kilometers away from my father's 400 acre block qualifying for the governments 85% loan scheme at the time. With the purchase of this property sheep and cattle farming began on a larger scale and in earnest.
Like most young farmers starting out I was only able to purchase very average ewes and cows. After 3 years farming we had put together 120 Angus cross cows. At that time my neighbour Tom Checkley, a very good stockman, was topping the Masterton weaner fair with lovely Angus Hereford calves.
I knew I would need to breed cows for probably 20 years or more if I wanted to compete with Tom at the weaner fair.
Clay university
During these early years I read data from Clay University in America where different breeds were compared over a range of attributes. The two top performing breeds were Simmental and Angus, particularly in relation to grass fed conditions in New Zealand. Both breeds were strong maternally, Simmentals were bigger and had greater growth, while the Angus were medium framed and required less maintenance. Both had good carcass attributes. I thought that these two breeds would complement each other.
A few Simmental herds had been established in NZ. I went to a bull sale, purchased 3 Simmental bulls, went home and put 3 Angus bulls in the works the next day (much to my father’s horror).
And so, began 40 years of crossbreeding.
Over the years as the farm grew, so did the cow herd. For many years now we have run 1000 cows. While building up the herd capital stock cows of various breeds were purchased. All were mated to top performing bulls, however none compared with the Simmental Angus cows.
Top Genetics
From the early years I have had an intense interest in genetics. With significant mortgage’s that go with expanding farms, establishing
a highly productive ewe flock and cow herd was of the upmost importance.

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