From a small nucleus, our goal is to produce quality cattle that work best in their natural environment. We strive for low maintenance cows that focus on the simple process of turning grass into meat and milk. Their offspring, whether breeder bulls or replacement heifers, need to be able to excel and perform on a low cost, forage based ration. Cow families are important to us. Multi-generations of quality genetics help eliminate the guess-work, and ensure consistency in the offspring. As the saying goes, ‘A good cow, bred correctly, should be able to produce a better son or daughter.’ There is certainly a lot more comfort if you can see the dam, grand dam and maybe even great-grand dam when making your genetic selections. We have taken the same slow and steady approach to introducing the polled gene, while trying to ensure the quality remains consistent. It is our goal to have all of our cattle be uniform high quality animals, with the polled factor simply being a potential bonus.
A Passion For Cattle
Developing Simmental cattle is our passion. It was a dream of ours to be able to start our own operation, a dream that was realized with the founding of Applecross. On our farm, the land base is perfect for what we need it to do – pasture cattle.
But while cattle are a passion, we are very aware of the financial challenges that have faced the cow-calf sector over the past number of years. Despite these challenges, we believe that by focussing on the margins, while adapting new technologies, there is a decent living to be made with beef cattle.
In combination with traditional physical trait evaluations, we are utilizing DNA testing to assist in genetic selection. As feed represents more than 85% of the cash costs involved in finishing a beef animal, we are especially excited about the new feed efficiency testing. We feel animals that will eat less and achieve the same gain (or gain more on the same feed), will be what the industry demands. This new-found ability to quantify feed efficiency alongside average daily gain, has the potential to re-shape the industry. We are excited to see how this technology develops over the next few years.