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TAS Country : August 12th 2010
22 Tasmanian Country Friday, August 13, 2010 Stock Report Angus stud principal rare breed IMPORTANT DECISIONS: Dimity Hirst and her daughter Ruby, 3, with some Entally Forest Angus bulls. Ms Hirst says temperament is a priority when selecting cows for her breeding herd. Picture KAROLIN MacGREGOR Spring is an exciting time for Angus breeder Dimity Hirst, whose first on-farm bull auction is just weeks away. KAROLIN MacGREGOR reports DIMITY and Michael Hirst's Entally Forest An- gus stud will put a selec- tion of 15 bulls under the hammer on September 7. It is the result of years of work and many carefully considered breeding de- cisions by Ms Hirst who, as a woman Black Angus stud principal, is a rare breed. ''There's no doubt this is a very male dominated industry,'' Ms Hirst said. ''And some men do get uncomfortable talking to me about bull testicle size and would probably prefer to talk to Michael. ''But I'm the one who makes all the decisions when it come to the stud side of it. ''So, I'm the one with all the information they need. ''Of course I couldn't do all this without Michael. ''He's the one that hand- les the cattle day to day and I can't always be here to make sure the fertiliser is put on and that the cattle have grass to eat. ''I think that's why our partnership is so solid. ''Michael and I are both part of the business. ''We look after our own areas and it works really well.'' Ms Hirst has been breed- ing Angus cattle for about 11 years and decided to specialise in Angus about eight years ago. Since then she has put together a carefully selec- ted herd of breeding cows using genetics from the well known NSW stud Mil- lah Murrah. Ms Hirst bought her first line of 10 females form the stud in 2003 and since then has combined them with carefully selected bulls through a small amount of artificial insemination as well as embryo transfer work to build up the stud numbers. There are now about 120 cows in the herd. Ms Hirst said when it came to selecting her cat- tle, she placed a high pri- ority on the female lines. ''There is often a lot of emphasis placed on bulls and they are obviously important,'' she said. ''But it's the cows that are the real foundation of any stud. ''If you can buy a bull that produces great fe- males, I think that's fantas- tic.'' Ms Hirst said the gen- etics at her Entally Forest stud differed from many of the Tasmanian Angus studs because they in- cluded a large proportion of Millah Murrah genetics. ''I haven't used a huge amount of AI in the stud, so we do have similar bloodlines to some of the other studs. ''But the female lines we've got are quite differ- ent and that gives the buyers another option if they're looking for some different genetics.'' Ms Hirst said the Millah Murrah genetics appealed to her because they had a long history of high pro- duction without chasing any trait extremes. ''I like the fact that they are very well balanced cat- tle,'' she said. ''They tick all the boxes you need as far as pro- duction goes, but they haven't really chased any one trait. ''So you end up with really nice balanced ani- mals.'' Ms Hirst said tempera- ment was one of her main priorities when it came to selecting cows for her breeding herd. ''That's one thing I won't compromise on,'' she said. ''I have children around the cattle yards so I don't want bulls that are looking at them through fences. ''And we don't keep any cows that will have a go at you after they've calved --- it's just too dangerous.'' Ms Hirst said she looked forward to calving season each year. ''I find that part of it fascinating,'' she said. ''I love seeing what all the work and the decisions have produced.'' Brisbane show bonanza for future Tassie sire CHAMPION: Tassie bred bull Bonanza with his owners Joy and John Sturgeon, breeders Rene and Terrance Harris and their granddaughter Olivia Viney. A TASMANIAN bred Mur- ray Grey bull has won a major award at one of the country's largest agricul- tural shows. Three year old bull Par- knook Bonanza was sa- shed the Grand Champion Murray Grey Bull at the Royal Brisbane Show. The bull was bred at Terrance and Rene Harr- is's Parknook Murray Grey stud at Swan Bay. The bull is no stranger to the show ring and in 2008 won the Interbreed Junior Bull title at the Scottsdale Show at 13 months old. Bonanza was sold to John Sturgeon from Stanthorpe in Queensland at the 2009 Island State Murray Grey sale for $5000. The Harris family re- tained a percentage of own- ership and were ringside to see him take the title. ''I think he is one of the better calves we've bred. ''We got a lot out of him because his temperament is just exceptional, he's more like a pet,'' Mr Harris said. ''John's a very good cattleman and he said a few months ago he was looking great and that they wanted to show him at Brisbane. John thought he was just too good not to let people have a look at him.'' Now weighing in at 1300kg, Bonanza has grown into an impressive bull. ''He's a very big bull now, but he carries it very well,'' he said. Mr Harris said the bull had shown significant po- tential when sold. 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