Meet Susie Chisholm – Adelong, NSW
A Southern NSW Angus breeder says the success of the Certified Australian Angus Beef program has provided a strong foundation for the momentum seen in Angus cattle production across Australia.
Susie Chisholm, who runs about 700 straightbred Angus breeders on her property, Gwalia, near Adelong, was invited to speak at last Thursday’s Sydney function celebrating 15 years of operation for CAAB (See yesterday’s story “Pioneering CAAB beef brand stands the test of time”).
See more about Susie Chisholm on the following video links about sourcing and cooking the beef (produced by The Perfect Steak Company).
Gwalia has supplied cattle for the CAAB program since its inception, and was one of the first winners of the CAAB supplier awards, based on compliance against the brand’s carcase and livestock specifications.
“Firstly through founding chief executive Michael Pointer and now his successor, Phil Morley, CAAB has opened up all sorts of markets worldwide for CAAB product, from Japan and Korea to more recently, China and the Middle East,” she said.
“That ground-work, together with what has happened in the restaurant and hotel sector in Australia, has really driven the program’s success,” she said.
Delegations of Japanese, Korean and Chinese customers visiting Australia as guests of CAAB have often paid a visit to Gwalia over the years, getting a taste of local cattle production, how the supply chain works, the degree of integrity in the licensing and verification systems that are applied, and the importance of the application of MSA systems in delivering consistent eating quality.
“It’s that pull-through demand effect that has provided the greatest benefit to Angus cattle suppliers,” Ms Chisholm said.
As a progeny test herd for the Team Te Mania program, the Gwalia herd is recording big progress in its genetic gain in important traits like marbling and growth rate.
“Our long-fed index, for example, has now come up to 115, on a breed average of 90,” she said.
“The marbling index for our heifer portion that we artificially inseminated this year was 2.3, and their longfed index was 123. The whole herd is now 2.0 for marbling, so we are making rapid progress, which is being reflected also in the carcase performance seen within the CAAB program.”
Ms Chisholm said her breeding program had become much more objectively oriented over the past 15 years, now weighing all calves at birth, and again at weaning and feedlot entry to build up a solid picture of growth performance. All calves are also scanned for intramuscular fat, rib and rump fat cover and eye muscle area.
Together with the feedback from the abattoir, that information all went to ABRI as part of Breedplan recording, helping drive genetic improvement efficiency both through the herd, and into commercial beef programs like CAAB.
“We are now using a program called Total Genetic Resource Management, which helps match complementary genetics within my cow herd, and the bulls which I have been allocated under the Team Te Mania program. The same applies with our AI program,” she said.
“This year, Greg Poppelwell from TGRM sent me the suggested genetic matches online, which I then downloaded onto a Sapien Technology tablet (small portable laptop computer), allowing us to make mating calls, crush-side.”
“The tablet actually calls out (using a synthetic voice), as a heifer is read as she comes up the race, who she is to be mated to for maximum genetic gain. There was no need to paw over records – all the decisions were done via the TGRM software, live. It’s amazing,” Ms Chisholm said.
Two AI technicians used in Gwalia’s AI program this year had also had great success using a new product called Gonnabreed, which aided conception rates and management during the insemination work.
Ms Chisholm told the CAAB anniversary gathering last Thursday that families that stuck together and worked together could achieve great things, and there was a sense of ‘family’ within the CAAB Angus supply network.
“If they stick together and market their product collectively and effectively, I think it can have a lot more commercial and marketing impact than producers going off individually and having their own cottage industry approach,” she said.
Meet John Dettmann – Kyneton, VIC
(L-R : John Dwyer, The Land Newspaper Linley & John Dettmann; Phil Morley, CAAB; Brett Tindal, The Land Newspaper)
John is an Angus grower from Kyneton Victoria, he runs a large commercial herd of quality Angus cows which produce wonderful Angus cattle for branded beef programs such as Certified Australian Angus Beef.
Please click on the following link to view winning producer, John Dettmann’s interview with CAAB CEO, Phil Morley http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a4rbYax0V7w
John has entered pens of Angus cattle in the Beef Spectacular Feedlot Trial over the last three years 2012, 2013, 2014 with John’s Angus cattle awarded the ‘CAAB Champion Pen’ in each of those three years.
In 2012 and 2013 he was awarded the ‘Reserve Champion pen of 5 Steers’ leading to 2014 when he scooped the prize pool winning both the ‘Champion Pen of 5 Steers’ and the ‘CAAB Champion Pen’.
Great Angus cattle growers produce great beef like Certified Australian Angus Beef, the brand owned by Aussie Angus Farmers.
Bongongo Angus Stud – Bill and Shauna Graham
Bill and Shauna Graham together with their son Tom run Bongongo Angus Stud situated on the banks of the Murrumbidgee River between Coolac and Jugiong. The Graham’s live on their property Riverview and working together with two other properties, Luff’s located at Adjungbilly and Briardale situated near Tumblong they run 800 registered Angus breeders and 500 Angus for the commercial market.
Shauna is based in the office at Riverview, with fourth generation farmer Bill and son Tom, alongside one other full time employee running the three properties. Bill and Shauna’s daughter, Jess, is also involved in the family business doing the graphic design for all advertising activities and sale catalogues.
Contractor labour is used for all fencing, spraying, pasture work such as silage, hay making and sowing of pastures for forage or hay and silage.
The Bongongo Angus Stud is one of the oldest registered herds in Australia with the first registration dating back to 1926. There are two on property bull sales per year held at Riverview. On property sales are held in Autumn and Spring. The graham Family sells approximately 180 bulls per year, including paddock sales outside their two on property sales. There is always a complimentary BBQ at the sales serving CAAB – Certified Australian Angus Beef. Steak sandwiches keep the punters happy and the Grahams purchase the beef, Cube Roll.
Bill Graham says, ‘We believe that the most important aspect of raising beef cattle is is to be profitable firstly. We love the feedback we get from our clients and the Bongongo Angus genetics are highly sought after.’ Shauna added, ‘Bill and Tom do several sessions of ET a year on our herd and we do a lot of AI to keep improving our genetics so our client’s herds do the same!’
‘We love living on the land because of the lifestyle, the space and the magnificent view we have of the banks of the Murrumbidgee River. Bill has a fierce love of cattle, cattle genetics and the beef industry. We are both passionate about the land and everything it has to offer!’ Shauna proudly states.
Boonaroo Angus Stud – Shane and Jodie Foster
Shane and Jodie Foster and their children Tom and Claire, own and run Boonaroo Angus Stud, which is located 12 km northwest of Casterton in the South West of Victoria. Jodie’s grandfather was a First World War soldier settler, taking up 202 hectares at “Lindsay” about 40 km from Boonaroo. Jodie’s family continue to farm “Lindsay” and have built it to an impressive 1821 hectares.
Shane’s father was the son of a dairy farmer and went on to buy the first 121 hectares of Boonaroo in 1967.
Shane, Jodie and their children live on Boonaroo and farm 1477 hectares. Shane and Jodie this year will join 380 Angus females and further trading 150 heifers joined on Boonaroo and sold as Pregnancy Tested in Calf (PTIC) in the same year. In addition to their Angus herd, Shane and Jodie also run a wool and lamb operation focused on export weight lambs and further improve pastures for grazing.
The Foster’s very much work their farm together and put in the hours to ensure the operation runs smoothly. They also employ a full time stockman to assist. Contract labour is used throughout the year during intensive periods including lamb marking and shearing.
The cattle operation is a solely a pasture fed operation with pasture fed steers turned off at around 450kg- 550kg to supply programs such as Angus Pure with quality pasture fed cattle.
Registered bulls are produced and sold annually at an on property auction held in February of each year. Surplus bred females are sold primarily for live export to China or Russia to increase herd number in both countries.
‘As producers and custodians of the land, we pride ourselves on having a healthy herd and farm, maintaining a balance of prosperity within our business and for the businesses of our bull buying clients. In other words we don’t over stock, we keep the land in good order for the generations to follow, and we breed animals which are sound, quiet, with optimal ability to produce muscle while still being able to both fatten and fall in calf pasture within a pasture fed grazing system.’
Shane and Jodie add ’these types of animals make raising beef cattle both economical and practical. As a breeder of Angus seed-stock, producing bulls which will create cow herds to fit clients specific farming environments is the most important and rewarding aspect of our beef cattle business.’
‘Living on the land is a privilege, we enjoy all the season’s first hand, enjoy the breeding season and the highs and lows of it all make us stronger more resilient people. It is a great stage on which to raise a family and teach the children responsibilities of having land and livestock. It makes children broadminded and well educated from an early age.’ says Shane.