Focus on farm performance traits
Eaglehawk Angus is known for genetics that are innovative and high performing using the most up to date world best angus sires. Our focus is on easy doing, maternal, moderate, carcase cattle that will handle, perform and thrive in Australian conditions. Our bulls are sold widely throughout Australia and are renown for their natural thickness, longevity, performance and consistency. Eaglehawk cattle are designed to go into any breeder herd and add profitability. Our very best bulls are sold rising two years at our on farm sale every year in August.
2020 Pre Sale Video
High emphasis on Maternal Traits
At Eaglehawk, we concentrate on the attributes that really matter. We believe the cow is most important to any cattle operation. We travel far and wide to select the best and most recent genetics the Angus breed has to offer in the world. This keeps us at the leading edge and our clients breeding high demand, profitable cattle.
We breed cows that are moderate framed and easy doing, deep and thick while still being feminine. The maternal traits are so important to us here at Eaglehawk. Cows that are low maintenance and efficient converters of dry matter will always look after you when times are tough. They are the ones that raise a heavy calf and breed back every year. Our cattle marble without chasing the massive marbling EBVs that tend to bring a range of problems with them. “Number stacking EBV’s is a simple breeding plan and impressive to some but from our experience we believe that it is an unsound strategy.
Much of the stud Angus industry has been caught up in chasing figures and disregarding the traits that made Angus breed great. We focus on producing cattle that have outstanding performance on farm and are sought after by backgrounders, feedlotters, grass finishers and the end consumer.
Our door is always open for visitors.
do you sell bulls out of the paddock?
“Yes, we have a second run of bulls that we market as private treaty bulls. In around February we class the bulls into firsts and seconds. The firsts are presented in the bull sale and the seconds are available in the paddock. Often the seconds are later calves. These paddock bulls are available on a first in, best dressed basis with discounts for bulk buys.”
At what age do you join your heifers?
“We join our heifers at 14 to 15 months so they calve at approximately 2 years of age. If looked after through this time there is no reason why they will not grow into their full potential as a cow. These heifers should also calve totally unassisted if joined properly and raise a calf that is as profitable as those raised by older cows. They should also get back in calf easily.”
What do you feed your bulls coming up to sale date?
“We aim to have them growing at around 1 kg per head per day for their whole life. It is important to guage what paddock feed resources we have and then supplementary feed when the need arises. Unfortunately, we have had to supplement most of the year this year. When we do feed, we still maintain that 1kg per head per day growth rate with a high roughage ration.”
what do you look for in an angus cow?
“When I visualise my ideal cow, I see a cow that is ,smooth skinned,moderate framed, fleshy and easy doing. She will be deep sided and thick topped whilst still having a feminine look about her. This cow will have good bone, adequate for her body size. She will have sound feet with a good amount of heal, with a moderate udder that is balanced and square and is strongly attached with moderate sized teats. She will also be expected to be sound and productive to a ripe old age.”
How much do you rely on EBV's in selecting your herd sires?
“EBV’s are part of the selection process. However, they are not at the top of the list. We firstly look at the animal itself. Structural soundness and whether it is the “Eaglehawk type”. Soft and deep bodied with a wide top and adequate bone. We then account for pedigree, (assessing the herd from where he was bred) within the type, giving us the genetic diversity that provides some flexibility to our joinings. Once the potential sire bulls have passed these hurdles, we then look at EBV’s – short gestation/calving ease/good growth. We look for a moderate mature cow weight of between 85 and 100, followed by a heavier carcase with decent eye muscle and positive fat cover for doing ability.”
How much do your auction bulls average?
“Each year is different of course. 2018 saw 78 bulls sell for approx $7500 average. 2019 was a drought year and bulls were puchased at an average of $5,000. As a guide, over the past 5 years half the sale are sold for between $4000 and $6000. “
What do you think is the most important thing when buying a bull?
“Suitability for purpose. Starting with structural soundness and all male working parts functioning and useable. This covers ability to get lots of calves and over a lot of years. Next I look at phenotype. Deep sided, thick topped with a smooth muscle pattern and a nice laid in shoulder for calving ease. Adequate bone and with a moderate frame.”
How do the Eaglehawk Bulls go in Queensland?
“They are perfect for a range of options in Queensland, whether it be crossbreeding or straight breeding because they will provide a boost to fertility, doing ability and total ease of management and marketing. Eaglehawk genetics are naturally thick, easy doing, moderate framed cattle that are exactly what our Queensland clients are discovering they need. Gone are the days when “Big is Best” when using Angus bulls in harder country as they are too high maintenance and the reason to use them in the first place is to thicken and soften the progeny. The moderation of the extreme large framed harder doing types are benefiting twofold – they are becoming more fertile and efficient plus their performance is paying dividends at the other end. They even up lines of crossbred cattle and grow to finishing weight easier because of the natural thickness and depth of body. In other words we believe they are a perfect choice for Queensland! “
Do you have specialist heifer bulls?
“Yes we do. All our calves are weighed within 24 hours of birth giving accuracy to our birthweight figures. The real specialist bulls have a low birthweight combined with a short gestation length and from totally unassisted calving’s. In that way we can assure our customers that, with the right management, they will have no calving issues with our heifer bulls..”
Where do your bulls sell to?
We sell bulls from the bottom of Victoria right through New South Wales and as north as the Barkley Tablelands in the Northern Territory. Our bulls have been hugely successful in the Boulia, Hughendon, Clermont districts of Queensland. What we are being told is that they add bone, and thickness to the Bos Indicus and handle the conditions because of their natural softness. The moderate frame has been a positive impact on the northern herds to build body capacity and not reduce their ability to thrive. We have pockets of followings, it seems that when neighbours of our clients see their cattle the Eaglehawk word spreads.
The Atkinsons, Goomeri, Queensland have used our genetics with huge success over their Droughtmaster cows. Admittedly they have a great herd of cows to start with but they rolled all breeders who entered the prestigious EKKA paddock to palate competition.
Their Angus Droughtmaster cross steers placed first in the 100-day class with an average daily gain (ADG) of 3.11kg. Another pen placed second with and ADG of 3.02kg and a similar pen in the 70-day class were the highest individual weight gaining steers with an ADG of 3.94kgs
What is the optimum EBV for Mature Cow Weight in your opinion?
“Optimum for me is between 85 and 100 Mature Cow Weight EBV. This coupled with a thick, deep, well muscled carcase will give optimum performance for growth whilst still maintaining a moderate efficient cow herd that is cheap to maintain. These cows will also get back in calf easily.”
What is your view on IMF (MARBLING) figures?
“From our experience with our Eaglehawk Farms beef product I can categorically say that our cattle marble more than enough for a tender juicy beef eating experience. After “Range Feeding” for 100 days the carcases exhibited marble score of 3-4 and a weight gain of 1.75kgs ave per day. Chasing marbling as a main criteria in selection is in my opinion a dangerous road towards a terminal sire breed for angus. The animals created by chasing the high marbling figures tend to be taller and harder doing. As a result fertility and calving ease can also be compromised.”
What do you mean by efficient cows?
“Efficient cows are those that get in calf easily, calve easily and then the wean a heavy calf. They do this whilst maintaining their body condition on low to moderate levels of feed. In other words they are cheap to maintain.”
Why do you buy USA sires?
“The US cattle industry is ahead of us in how they approach both their on farm constraints and their market acceptance. The cow herd over there is 10 times the size of here. The population is 15 times bigger and so communication between the market and the cattleman is relatively fast. On farm they have extremes of temperature, both hot and cold, that we can only imagine. So basically the best of the best in the USA is what we strive to find and import for the Eaglehawk herd.”
What growth figures do you strive for in the Eaglehawk herd?
“What we strive for is balance. It’s only after we are satisfied with the maternal side of the equation that we work on growth rate. What we are looking for is above average growth with a moderate birth weight. Ideally a curve bender. We would pursue as much growth as we can without compromising moderation in cow size and in calf birth weight.”
COMMENTS FROM THE RANGE
I return to the Eaglehawk Angus bull sale every year to purchase bulls for numerous clients because the cattle are right. The bulls perform on all levels. They get calves, they stay sound in sometimes difficult terrain and conditions.
The bulls make my job easy when marketing the progeny. They are bred by cattle people that care about the industry, their product and their customers. It isn’t complicated, Eaglehawk bulls just work.
We are coming into our third season of joining Eaglehawk bulls to our heifers. One attribute that puts these bulls in a class above the rest, and is critical to us, is that they are early maturing and consitently produce good soft weaners progressing to heavy feeder cattle at 400 days old. For us it’s all about efficiency.
We have been incredibly happy with the results we have been getting from our Eaglehawk Bulls. The cows bred from these bulls have exceptional body capacity and really held their own during the drought. The steers are easy to get to market weight and present as a very even marketable line. The bulls have always been able to keep in good condition and we have had no breakdown troubles. The heifer bulls we have used have made calving a breeze.