The strength of the Barwidgee story lies within the cow herd. Selection for performance over many generations has given the Barwidgee cow herd some serious economic advantages.
Targets of fertility, calving span, longelivity etc that are aspired to by other herds are the norm for the Barwidgee cow herd. Joining periods are 7 weeks, all cows calve annually. Heifers that need assistance at calving are culled.
Cows are subjected to seasonal variations in nutrition.
We are a high stocking rate property so it is not unusual for nutrition to be sub optimal. Over many generations we have weeded out the genetics that do not have the ability to remain highly productive in less than ideal conditions. We find it very interesting when using AI bulls how their daughters stack up against our own genetics. Often they are found wanting and we omit these bulls from our future breeding programs.
At Barwidgee we are very conscious of the need for cows to work for the breeder. This is a very important trait, but extremely difficult to measure. Traits such as the longelivity of females in the herd, the ability to perform in sub optimal nutrition, the size of the cow relative to the size of the calf she weans.
That lovely looking 700kg cow is not much use to you if she only weans a calf the same weight as your 500kg cow. The big cow may look pretty and impressive, but she is not going to have a very good impact on the bottom line.
Because the Barwidgee cow herd has such good production we have large numbers of animals to choose from when selecting the genetics that are used in the seedstock breeding herd. Once females have passed the productivity test we then select the best females on EBV’s and structure.