WHY BAZADAIS beef cattle?
Baza-what?! Don't let the name put it over you... It's easy once you learn... Pronounced "Baz-ah-Day", a bit like Charolais, you know? Try it with us.... "Baz-a-dais" :-)
HERE'S WHAT GEOFF RECKONS ABOUT WHY HE CHOSE BAZADAIS FOR OUR CROSS BREEDING OPERATION...
"I have always liked seeing the results of using different sires, particularly with cross breeding. I have had the job of pulling out the 10 year old cows for years. In doing so, I have noticed the percentages of cows who go the 10 year distance. In my opinion, cross bred cows have always outnumbered our straight Santa Gertrudis breeders. More than 80% of the bulls we'ved used over the years have been Santa Gertrudis. So what does that tell you?
I think to lift the fertility of our cows, we need to use bulls which have a lower hip height. You want cows that are long, not tall. I believe animals mature faster when you shorten up their legs. There are studies with numbers supporting this belief. When asked why this is so, cattle with longer legs have greater nutritional demands.
Survival is one thing, but minimal stimulation to get the cows cycling is very important. Let's face it, 50% of what we are breeding is female - unless you're using sexed semen! Stocking numbers and the season you're having help to determine the weight and growth of an animal. It is interesting to see the cost in dollar terms in carrying females which aren't in calf. Good females will play a greater role in agriculture to help drive profitability.
When I was a teenager, I went to a few stud bull sales. I saw some old bulls that had been purchased for big money. Foundation bulls is what you would have called them. Looking at the size of their feet and the shell of their skeletal system, you could tell, they must have been big bulls in their prime. I always thought that there must have been a muscle to bone ratio, the bigger the beast, the more muscle. It was only when I came across Bazadais cattle that it challenged this previous notion.
I believe the Bazadais breeders in France have developed a breed and pushed it to its potential. Words like "consistently larger than average eye muscle areas (EMA's)" have been used at carcase competitions. In saying that, I have seen some cows that have had big, flexible bodies with fine bones like that of a gazelle. I still wish I'd had a chance to whip out the camera to this day. Astonishing. I wouldn't have believed it, but for having seen it myself.
Because Bazadais stud cattle have been bred for tenderness and extra length you can sometimes find genetic faults in their legs. Most full blood cows grow extra long and I find that they are a bit weak in the back. Jumping in to the plunge dip, you can see evidence of this. Most old full blood cows aren't very graceful.
However, I have not seen cross bred animals with these poor legs. I have always been a strong believer in cross breeding. Using Bazadais bulls has constantly given my cross breds more length. I like the Brahman cross and Droughtmaster cross Bazadais the best. Great length, light coat, great muscling - true hybrid vigor.
Temperament and fertility, I couldn't fault in my experience. Ticks love the taste of the full bloods. Having lost two full blood cows from Victoria at a cost of $6,000 each to ticks, I strongly say, buy animals from ticky areas, if you have ticks. Blooding doesn't always work infallibly.
At carcase competitions here in Australia, 2nd cross Bazadais bullocks have dressed out at 63%. In France, animals in the range of 400-500kg have dressed out at 70%. This is huge, when most of the bullocks killed here don't dress out over 57% or so. You will consistently see Bazadais cross animals in the ribbons at carcase comps, proving their superior characteristics.
Anyway, I could talk all day about Bazadais and cross breeding and it's not all going to fit on the web site! Happy to have a chat, give me a call or shoot us an email if you're interested in discussing more."
Geoff Comiskey, March 2014.