NQ Dry Tropics’ LDC Breeder management and pregnancy testing workshop participants, from left, Roxanne Morgan, Greg Lennox, Lyle Gillham, Dr Ian Braithwaite, Sheridan Callcott, Vivian Finlay, Emily Page, Ness Allen, Brendan Smith, Will Fordyce. The two-day workshop was held at Glenden Station, near Glenden.

Managing breeders for profit


A take-home message for graziers who attended a herd management and pregnancy testing workshop at Glenden Station, near Glenden: if you want to develop a good maternal herd, cull hard and cull consistently.

Earlier this month, nine graziers from near Glenden and Collinsville took part in a NQ Dry Tropics’ Landholders Driving Change two-day workshop, led by Dr Ian Braithwaite, a cattle veterinarian with more than 30 years experience.

Will Fordyce, right, helps Greg Lennox to secure a preg testing glove to his arm.

Dr Braithwaite focused on the theoretical and practical skills of pregnancy testing and foetal ageing in cattle, as well as leading discussions on how to increase livestock efficiency and performance for improved business profitability and landscape resilience.

Dr Braithwaite, said a good maternal herd achieved pregnancy rates of 92 per cent and above through good years and bad with little hay feeding and minimal supplementation of protein and minerals.

“You have to provide the best care for your cattle, while making sound business decisions to ensure that your operation is profitable,” Dr Braithwaite said.

“Often graziers get caught in the trap of running more cows to produce more calves to cover business deficits such as debt or low rebreed rates.

“To break this cycle graziers should transition from a continuous to a controlled mating system, improve the reproductive performance of female cattle and manage pasture coverage.”

Grazier Will Fordyce, of Hillalong Station, said the workshop taught him how to better manage breeder herds.

“I’ve learnt a lot about the technical aspects of testing cows and foetal aging,” Mr Fordyce said.

“Ian also explained how to structure your herd when preg testing to ensure you get them in the right calving groups, and how these groups affect nutrition and seasonality. 

“It’ll definitely be good to fine tune this at home and improve our breeder herd, and the business, profitability-wise.”

Grazier Emily Page, of Dindus Station, said she learned a lot about preg-testing and herd management.

“It’s good to know when there’s not a vet available that you can tell whether a cow is pregnant or empty,” Ms Page said.

“We also did a lot of work on cash flow, herd management and stocking rates which are all really important areas to get right for the long term sustainability and profitability of our business.”

The workshop was part of an integrated program that the Landholders Driving Change Grazier Support program is delivering in 2019, kindly hosted by Lyle Gillham and family at Glenden Station.