Cree consists of 1000 head with 400 Stud females grazing at “Kiah”, ” Blue Haven” and “Westrock” in the Lawgi Dawes area near Thangool. Family owned and managed by Shaun & Jo McGuigan with assistance from their two sons Jake & Jed.
Jake, wife Kathleen, and granddaughter Malia, live at “The Meadows” near Jambin, overseeing and share farming the irrigation, hay growing, and fattening country.
Jed, a qualified Commercial Heavy Vehicle Mechanic & Auto Electrician, lives with his partner Tayla and her son Jarel at “Four Winds”, additional alluvial black soil fattening/farming block at Jambin where Jed also owns and operates McGuigan & Co, a local transport business for Livestock, Hay & General Freight.
We take pride in the management process which shows in our 4 ½, out of 5, star rating, for performance recording with BREEDPLAN. We have been objectively recording for over 20 years. All information is recorded via live entry at the cattle yards on Stock book software to promote accuracy and efficiency to eliminate any errors due to double handling. This is particularly important with the collection of TSU samples for DNA and Genomics applications.
The stud is managed with a commercially orientated focus, breeding cattle that are functional and sound, that can rear a calf with good weaner weights, re-breed each year, and do this regardless of season and environment.
The life of a Stud Bull/Cow at Cree
Management | NOVEMBER & DECEMBER
Cree’s management process begins in November with seasonal joining allowing us to put pressure on our females. The Cree Sires are joined to aged cows on 1st November to end February, allowing all females to be finished calving by 10th December each year.
In late December yearling heifers are multiple joined for 70 days from Christmas to the end of February. They range from 12 months – 15 months at joining and this practice identifies the early pubertal genetics. We have done the exercise of ovarian scanning prior to joining in the past but, found the presence of a Corpus Luteum in all except one heifer. With that information it was decided to let nature do the selecting. Season permitting, we also run a blanket AI program in Early December.
The heifers that are multiple joined calve out in September and October. The calves are recorded the day they are born and weighed, ear tagged, and a TSU is taken to be sent away for Sire DNA verification. These Dams are now in line with the rest of the breeding herd. The following year they are presented for classification if positively rebred with a weaner at foot.
This system proves to us early puberty with an ease of calving, milking, mothering ability and most importantly eliminates the likelihood of covert genetic occurrences such as lactation anoestrus.
All calves are recorded at birth and a round of branding, tagging and vaccination is completed before Christmas.
Management | JANUARY & FEBRUARY
400-Day Weights are completed, Scrotal Circumference and Flight Time information is collected for the whole cohort of Yearling Bulls and sent to ABRI for analyses.
We make selection of potential sale bulls and draft off to then have TSU samples taken and sent away for DNA analysis, (BVDV) Pesti Virus, Pompes, Horn/ Poll, Parentage and 50 K SNP for Genomics. These carefully selected bulls are then returned to grass and Leucaena pastures at “Kiah”. The undesirables are castrated and trucked to “The Meadows” to fatten on leucaena and grass.
The second and final round of calf branding and 2nd Vaccinations are administered with a NLIS tag.
February is the end of the Cree Mating season, so all Sires are taken out from all females and spelled in grass pastures, until their annual Semen Morphology test in the following June.
Management | APRIL & MAY
Weaning is conducted in either April or May depending on the season and available feed. All breeding females are weighed (Mature Cow Weight) with the calf at foot also weighed (200-Day Weight) on the same day then weaned. Cows will also be pregnancy tested and any positives are bang tailed, with any failures, ring tailed and trucked to “The Meadows” for fattening.
Yearling heifers are weighed for 600-Day Weights, pregnancy tested and scanned for the Carcass traits being EMA, Rib, Rump and IMF. Again, any empties are trucked to fatten at “The Meadows”.
Managing disease is a priority, therefore seasonal joining and vaccinating for 7:1, Pesti Virus and Vibrio is a must. A yearly booster of 7:1 and Pesti is also administered at pregnancy testing to all breeding females.
One paddock is mustered each day during weaning time. As each paddock is yarded, we feed the weaners out from the day before in laneways and small holding paddocks while the new mob is processed through the yards. Then we yard them and muster another paddock to test and weigh. This saves costs on feeding weaners in the yards and provides handling and training. The calves from the first paddock weaned have been let out and yarded 7 or 8 times by the end of the weaning process and most of the handling has been completed.
At the completion of weaning all calves are drenched, with potential breeding heifers vaccinated for vibrio and pesti virus and turned out to grow on grass pastures.
During April/May all the potential sale Bulls are drafted and identified as Auction sale bulls and drafted into smaller mobs and moved into closer grass and leucaena paddocks for sale preparation. 600-Day Weight and scans for the Carcass traits being EMA, Rib, Rump, and IMF are measured by David Reid (Accredited scanner)
Management | JUNE
With Three Months to go until Cree Bull Sale, all eligible bulls are presented for classification. The Paddock bulls graze on leucaena and grass and are also now available for sale anytime.
The sale team which includes private sale bulls, and the Cree Sires are Semen tested (% Norm Sperm)
Rocky Repro employs an Australian Accredited Cattle Vet to come on property to examine all bulls internally, measuring scrotal circumference and then takes a crush side semen sample and measures motility. A semen sample is taken back to the laboratory for a Morphology test to count % normal sperm and to identify any defects. An AACV certificate is then processed on each bull and is sent with all Cree bulls to the successful purchaser when delivered after sale. The bulls are also vaccinated on this day with a yearly booster for 3 Day, Vibrio and Pesti virus.
Management | JULY/AUGUST
Focus: Sale Bulls
We believe the leucaena environment that the bulls are raised in prepares the bulls for the harsher environment they will encounter after sale. Like brigalow and mulga type country the leucaena has a harsh stick base which tests the animal’s soundness with regards to eyes, sheathes, testicles and feet.
The bulls are supplementary fed on a high roughage diet consisting of hay we grow ourselves, usually wheat, oats, barley, and millet. To this we add pro-biotics and all essential trace elements for a healthy rumen. Our preparations are never more than 30% grain composition and are fed daily.
The benefits of this are two-fold. One, bulls still must forage in their paddocks, and because of the high roughage and low grain in the diet their rumen maintains healthy bacteria able to turn grass into energy. This practice negates any let down period after purchase, and ensures their future soundness, both physically and reproductively. Secondly it allows us to control growth rates and present bulls in what we believe to be optimum working condition at around 1kg per day life gain.
Our goal at Cree is to provide future sires to stud and commercial operations that have the ability to provide positive genetic gain across the range of profit driving traits simultaneously.
All bulls are sold with Quality Assurance, AACV certificate with the full breakdown of Morphology results and a health declaration.
We offer after sale service, and delivery is arranged.
Sale Day Weights/Carcass traits: EMA, Rump, Rib, and IMF scans are completed by David Reid.
Cree offers a sale catalogue online and a paper copy with transparent information on each animal.
A supplementary sheet, with Raw Data: Birth date, Fat scan: EMA, Rib, Rump, IMF, scrotal size and % Norm Sperm is available 1 week prior to sale. These bulls are offered for sale at the end of August on property at “Kiah” Thangool.
We hope this gives you an insight into the management at Cree and we look forward to seeing you at our 8th on property sale. “ Always the last Tuesday in August”
Majority of the calves are born in September, October and November and it is a priority to get accurate birth dates, therefore breeding cows are checked regularly.
Twice daily the Yearling heifers are checked to weigh their calves within hours of being born.