Largest breeder of Belmont Reds
Herd Management and Selection criteria
Natural Selection Pressure
Largest breeder of Belmont Reds in Australia
Seifert Belmont Reds is a commercially focused beef cattle breeding and seedstock bull producer. It is the largest breeder of pure bred registered breedplan recorded Belmont Red cattle in Australia. Encompassing 25 000 acres it is an aggregation of six properties. Our Eastern forest breeder properties are ‘Sylvia Vale’ and ‘Bidgoods’ 26km North of Crows Nest in the South Burnett and ‘Flag Springs’ 113km North of Chinchilla. ‘Wonga’ ‘Alice Downs’ and ‘Kurrajong’ 25km of Jandowae on the Eastern Downs is used for growing out bulls and yearling mated heifers.
Stock is managed under strictly commercial operating conditions. Born and bred in ‘ticky’ nutritionally marginal spear grass forest country in the South Burnett, our philosophy of breeding genetically superior adapted cattle results from intense selection pressure being applied to traits of economic importance in this natural and tough environment.
Seifert Belmont Reds is family owned and operated by husband and wife team Ian Stark and Jeanne Seifert and also incorporates the Sylvia Vale Stock Horse Stud.
Twenty years ago, Jeanne established the Seifert Belmont Red herd. It was founded on the genetics of her father Dr George W Seifert’s ‘Montpelier’ herd. Dr GW Seifert is the geneticist who developed the Belmont Red at CSIRO Belmont Research station from 1964 to 1987 where Jeanne was born. Seifert Belmont Reds had a genetic jump start benefiting from 45 years of Dr Seifert’s breeding Belmont Reds.
Ten years ago, Jeanne married Ian Stark and together they expanded the business to focus on seedstock Bull breeding where intense genetic and phenotypic selection pressure is applied across all traits of economic importance.
Genetic selection includes rigorous performance testing of all animals, for all traits, using BREEDPLAN. This benchmarks our performance against all Belmont Reds and composites, past and present, in the Belmont Australia database, which was the first, and therefor is the oldest performance recording BREEDPLAN database in Australia.
In keeping with the breeds scientific origins, Seifert Belmont Reds maintains a culture of active involvement in research which guarantees’ the most current and high accuracy, high integrity genetic information is returned to our herd. Historically Dr Seiferts genetics were used in the CRC1 and CRC2 research projects, and Seifert Belmont Reds contributed to CRC3.
More recently Seifert Belmont Reds participated in the “CASHCOW” project – which is the largest project to date in Australia researching beef cattle female fertility. Our performance was benchmarked against approximately 72 commercial herds and 78000 cows in Qld, WA and the NT. “CASHCOW” confirmed we are leaders in female fertility with our results being significantly better than the average across all fertility measures. Our results for “wet maiden heifers inter calving interval under 12 months” was a staggering 45.5% better than the median.
Currently we’re involved in MLA’s Northern Beef Genomics Project, the MLA Phosphorus Challenge, an MLA Pasture Producer Demonstration Site and an Animal Genetics and Breeding Unit (AGBU) Horn/Poll study.
Herd Management and Selection criteria
We select bulls based on their genotypic and phenotypic merit.
Genetically we use BREEDPLAN to assist us to create well balance bulls in line with our breeding objectives including an emphasis on the economically profitable traits of above average fertility, high carcase quality and yield plus moderate growth combined with genuine tropical adaptation and impeccable temperament. DNA genomic testing is used for sire verification of all males as well as to identify Polled and Horned genes.
Phenotypically we select well-muscled bulls with a good top line and good fat cover. We chose bulls with a short sheath and preference is given to polled males. The Seifert Belmont Red herd is approximately 90% polled. Ninety eight percent of our bulls are polled with approximately 1/3 being homozygous polls (PP).
Bull calves undergo a BBSE (Bull Breeding Soundness Evaluation) at 11-14 months of age which includes examination of % normal sperm morphology and % normal progressive motility. This identifies early puberty males which relates to highly desirable and heritable fertility traits. In keeping with our strong focus on fertility these 1-year old bull calves (weaned in April – working in November of the same year) are used in the breeding program every year in single sire mating groups with up to 80 females of any age.
Mature bulls (two years and older) are mated with up to 140 females. We us restricted mating periods of 12 weeks for the mature cow herd, and 6 or 9 weeks for maiden heifers. We most commonly use natural single sire mating, as well as AI and IVF. All bulls sold are guaranteed fertile.
Culling is stringent for poor temperament which is highly heritable. All bulls are flight speed tested or pen scored at weaning which provides an objective measurement of temperament. As well as being extremely important for safe and easy handling, quiet temperament has a strong correlation with meat tenderness.
Weights for 200 day, 400 day, 600 day and Mature Cow Weight are recorded.
All males and females are objectively measured using BREEDPLAN. They are selected with an emphasis on fertility traits and a preference for above average growth EBV’s. Cows are Pregnancy tested annually by a Veterinarian and are culled if empty. Dry cows are also culled. Seifert Belmont Red females consistantly average >90% PTIC rates from restricted 12 week or 9 week mating periods. Days to Calving EBVs are recorded on all breeders.
The ‘CASHCOW’ research project revealed that 80% of our first lactation heifers were again pregnant within 12 weeks of calving (inter calving interval under 12mths) compared to the research project median of 34.5%. The following year 90.6% of our wet maiden heifers were PTIC, a result 13.6% better than the ‘CASHCOW’ median.
Replacement heifers are live scanned for carcase traits including EMA, IMF, P8 and rib fat.
Structural soundness with particular attention paid to feet and udders ensures long breeding careers in Seifert Belmont Red cows.
Natural Selection Pressure
Seifert Belmont Reds are never dipped for ticks (unless required to be cleared to clean country) and are never treated for buffalo fly. Exposure to high external parasite challenges without chemical intervention guarantees Seifert Belmonts high tick and fly resistance is ‘not compromised and that these traits are passed on to following generations.
Roslyn’ is ‘ticky’ spear grass forest country (plus lantana!) with decomposed granite soils over a clay base. It has no improved pastures. Breeders, replacement heifers and breeding bulls are not substitute fed. Despite persistent droughts, Seifert Belmont Reds remain fertile and productive in the paddock with only a 30% urea supplement during winter. Seasonal temperatures can be extreme, ranging from -6c in winter to +40c in summer. Buying Seifert Belmont genetics ensures hardiness and survivability wherever they go.
Bulls are vaccinated against vibriosis, BEF and are tested PI (persistently infected BVD) negative. Weaner calves are immunised twice with 5 or 7in1 and are vaccinated with tick fever vaccine. Bulls for sale grow out at ‘Wonga’ Jandowae on leuceana or forage crop if available. ‘Field day’ display animals may be supplementary fed if necessary.
2009 saw a once off foray into the show scene. 2010 saw a shift to highly successful carcase competitions and field days. Out of five carcase competitions entered to date, our Belmont Red steers have won or placed in every competition. Seifert Belmonts can be found annually on site displays at ‘Farmfest’ (Toowoomba) ‘Primex’ (Casino) and ‘Ag-Grow’ (Emerald)