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Success with Stabilisers in Brecon, Wales - R J Roderick

Our team visited Richard Roderick who runs Newton Farm alongside Helen and the family in Brecon, Wales. The farm is home to over 60 Stabiliser cows, with 24 heifers joining the herd this year, plus 1050 ewes and lambs on 650 acres. Five years ago, Richard decided he wanted to make the transition from being a continental-cross herd to a more easily managed Stabiliser herd. "I wanted to breed cattle that are hardier, more efficient and easier to manage" explains Richard. Richard out-winters his cows and replacement heifers on Fodder beet and silage which is well suited to the low-input system that he runs.

For the past four years Richard has successfully implemented a controlled breeding programme on his Stabiliser cattle with the aim of increasing the size of his herd. He began by using one of our Signature Beef Stabilisers, Givendale Norseman, with which he had good conception rates, keeping the females from the crop of calves to use as replacements within his herd. "I am pleased with the temperament of the stabilisers and how easily they calve down" says Richard. The following year Richard used Givendale Nemesis on his heifers and cows to which he produced easily born good quality calves (pictured below). Mr Roderick also went onto explain that he has just sold the first bulls of the year, which achieved 380kgs at 13.2 months old.

Since using the breeding programme Richard has tightened up his calving index to 367 days, with 73% calving in the first three weeks and 96% calving in the first 9 weeks. Working closely with Cogent's Breeding Advisor Sian Jones they aim to continue on the breeding programme and this year they are using another Signature Beef sire; Stan the Man, who is noted for his good milk production, excellent growth and carcase yield. Looking to the future, Richard aims to strive towards a profitable and sustainable suckler business by increasing the number of pedigree Stabilisers he manages.

Richard said, "This is our fourth year of using AI and the technicians from Cogent are always punctual and efficient. The service provided by Sian and her team has been excellent throughout".