Landscape image of the Reiland Angus property

Reiland genetics pays dividends in heavy grass fed market

Merrilla manager Ken Cobban with fourth and fifth calving Reiland blood cows, due to have their calves weaned in February.

Reiland carcase genetics are paying dividends for Coolong Pastoral with grass fed heavy grown Reiland blood steers bringing an average of $2560 over the hooks.

Ken Cobban manages Coolong Pastoral’s holding, ”Merrilla” at Goulburn, NSW, and runs a breeding herd of 100 Reiland blood cows, while 400 Reiland blood cows are run at the company’s property, Toronga Station, at Hay.

A draft of two-year-old steers was sold over-the-hooks off Merrilla recently to Wingham Beef Exports.

The steers averaged 730kg liveweight, had an average carcase weight of 380kg returned 673c/kg CW.

On the carcase feedback, 65 per cent had an average fat depth of 17mm, and 27 per cent a marble score five.

With years of experience in the international and domestic dairy industry under his belt, Mr Cobban classes the females on temperament, calving ease, fertility, milk and ability to rear a live calf to weaning.

He also focuses on matching the high performance beef genetics with high performance pastures.

Heifers are joined at a critical mating weight of 320kg liveweight for a concentrated seven-week calving pattern while cows are over nine weeks.

The August-September 2019 drop heifers averaged 280kg liveweight at yard weaning in February 2020.

“Back in February when the dry weather broke and we got good follow up rains I had spring drop steers here putting on 1.8kg a day on phalaris, ryegrass and clover pastures,” Mr Cobban said.

Merrilla sits in a 700mm rainfall zone and comprises granitic soils to alluvial river flats.

Mr Cobban said the Coolong Pastoral team was happy with the customer service from Reiland.

He has been impressed with the soundness and longevity of the Reiland bulls.

When buying bulls, Coolong Pastoral aims for those in the top 20 per cent of BREEDPLAN EBVs in the Reiland catalogue.

“The bulls are always in real good nick and are easy to handle,” Mr Cobban said.

“They are selected for moderate birthweight and I’ve hardly pulled a calf since I got here five years ago.

“We aim for quality – you may pay a bit more for a bull but at the end of the day you get it all back.

“The Reiland blood cattle are easy to manage and go forward.

“When I weaned the spring drop calves in February (2020) the steer calves averaged 312kg and the heifers 280kg.

“To be that weight in the drought conditions we had was really good.”

Depending on the market, steers and surplus heifers can be sold to feedlots or to the heavy grassfed markets.

Mr Cobban paid tribute to Coolong Pastoral owner, Anthony Crichton-Brown, who passed away in January in the UK due to COVID-19 complications.

“He loved his cattle and had been using the Reiland bulls for about 25 years.

“He was well up to speed with the genetics and the type of cattle he liked.”