The southern NSW beef producer uses a simple crossbreeding system of Black Simmental and Sim Angus bulls over Angus females to achieve heavier turn-off weights at an earlier age.
Craig and his wife Karen sold 50 per cent Black Simmental spring-drop steers last year at 12 months of age to average 476kg liveweight.
The seconds, comprising 25 per cent Sim-Angus steers, were sold three weeks later at 472kg average. The tail enders, purebred Red and Black Angus steers, took a further three months to reach exit weights – and were still 27kg lighter than the first consignment.
“We are now totally convinced of the benefits and the simplicity of crossing Angus with Black Simmental and Sim Angus bulls,’’ Mr Schulz said.
“In fact, this year we joined every female in the herd to Black Sim and Sim Angus sires.’’
The couple run 625 breeders on their 1080ha property at Morven, north of Albury.
Mr Schulz said feedlot feedback had revealed the Sim-Angus cattle had shown greater weight gains and yields, with marbling the equivalent of an average Angus animal.
“Certainly, they are not at the top levels of the Angus breed for IMF (intra-muscular fat percentage), but are definitely producing more than adequate amounts for most markets,’’ he said.
“These cattle are suitable for grass fattening, and can be grown to heavier weights without the grid penalties for excessive fat often associated with British types.’’
The family has observed a lift in fertility within the black Sim Angus females.
The Sim Angus females had a 100 per cent response to the program, and produced AI pregnancy rates of 76 per cent.
This compared to the Angus on a 90 per cent response and 61 per cent pregnancy rate.
Mr Schulz considers the Sim Angus female to be the “first cross ewe’’ of the beef cattle world.
“We have also found that, even though the Sim Angus cattle have superior growth rates, the mature cow weights are similar to those of our Angus females,’’ he said.
The family aims to have the herd comprise 25-50 per cent Black Simmental-Angus within two to three years. Only females conceiving within a six week period will be retained.
Mr Schulz conceded a preference for large framed, later maturing bulls had now been replaced with moderate framed, easy doing sires from Webb Black Simmentals, Glenburn.
In recent times, he has been judicious in his bull selection, paying an Australian record price of $17,000 for Webb Iron Man, along with Webb Formula One, Webb Explosion and St Pauls Captain.
“The Webb bulls are doing an exceptional job for us – easy calving and quick growth,’’ Mr Schulz said.
“The fact we can select from large contemporary groups means it is easy to source the right bull.
“The use of quality Black Simmental and Sim Angus sires over an Angus based herd will provide a simple, yet effective solution to the proven benefits of a crossbred herd.’’