Commercial viability is, and has always been, very important for Vitulus, as we want to be producing for a much broader sector than just the hobby farm market. We want our bulls to produce beef on both fullblood, purebred and percentage cattle so that our buyers can get a return on their investment.
Phenotype as well as genotype obviously plays a very important role in producing bulls that will survive in these environments. In addition to a number of bulls going to commercial enterprises as far west as Longreach and interstate, last year a very large Angus commercial operation bought 7 bulls from Ausline breeders in Queensland and 11 bulls registered with another breed Association from Victoria. I am pleased to say that seven Ausline bulls of which four of those were Vitulus Bulls survived the joining season and a couple ended up being semen collected. Unfortunately of the 11 purchased elsewhere only 1 survived! Similar gene pool but totally different focus and environment in which they were raised.
Our bulls are raised in a herd environment. They need to run with other bulls, fight to find out who is dominant and be able to have the opportunity to exhibit those natural instincts. Muscle is bred into them and not feed into them as if often the case with so many show bulls. Once these show bulls are taken home and put out to work with the females they just fall apart. They are, as what is referred to in the industry, too soft and pampered. Bulls were not designed to be hand fed 352 days of the year, isolated from other males within the species, treated as pets and have Santa Hats put on their head!
Some important other traits required for this commercial environment is the measuring of scrotal circumference. Scrotal circumference is a valuable indicator of a bull’s fertility and circumference size matters when making sire selection decisions.
“The big take home from all this is that of the 18 bulls we purchased 6 have excelled they handled all the stress and work and recovered very well these bulls are truly standouts when we consider all these things, we are very happy to have them in our system. Having a herd of animals that toughness, durability and fertility are “bred in not fed in” is of utmost importance to this business”.