Kerrah’s vision is to produce moderate birth weight, easy calving cattle with explosive growth in an early maturing, polled animal that thrives on hill country. We are committed to producing functional, docile cattle using a balance of proven science, accurate recording and stockmanship.
In order to achieve these goals, Kerrah Simmentals consists of approximately 540 cows, all of which are registered, and actual measurements recorded fully on breed plan. Cows are run as a commercial herd, with all cows expected to perform to high standards. To calve as a two year old and every year following, while living on steep hill country and competing with ewes. Selection into the cow herd is dependant mainly on a heifer’s structure, temperament, ability to get in calf at 15 months and EBVS.
Along with the usual structural assessments etc, there is a great belief that to make genetic progress, performance recording is paramount. A large amount of time is invested in this to maximize the accuracy of raw data input. Put good, accurate data in and achieve the greatest genetic gain – a maxim the stud believes in. Combine this with the large size of management groups and you have meaningful data to work with.
On average, the generated breeding values from Kerrah have a 10% higher accuracy than other Simmental 20 month sale bulls.
Traits actually measured;
Mature Cow Wt
An EBV is the best estimate of an animal’s genetic merit for that trait
The genotype of an individual can have an influence on many of its traits that are visible. Here at Kerrah, we believe it's about finding balance and consistency. We are able to use comprehensive DNA testing as a tool to make more accurate breeding decisions. The majority of the Kerrah herd now have Neogen 100k SNP profiles, guaranteeing parentage, stipulating animals homozygous for the polled gene, tenderness gene, leptin status and animals free from the dilution gene.
A bull that is homozygous for the polled gene will sire 100% polled calves whatever the cows horn status is.
A heterozygous polled bull over horned cows will sire 50% polled and 50% horned calves
A heterozygous polled bull over heterozygous polled cows will sire 25% horned, 50% hetero polled and 25% homozygous polled calves but over pure Angus cows 100% will be polled.
Scurs is an incomplete development of horns that are detached from the skull and do not need dehorning. The scurred gene is a separate gene (still under investigation) from the polled gene, but will only be displayed in heterozygous polled animals. A scurred bull will throw the same percentage polled animals as a hetero polled animal.
The dilution gene is a gene that when crossed with a black animal, the progeny’s coat colour will be grey/smokey/brown - whatever your preferred description is. Simmental animals affected by the dilution gene are usually called blondes but a lot of the red Simmentals carry a copy in their background so when crossed, give a mix of red/black/smoky grey calves. Here at Kerrah, we have been trying to isolate the dilution gene so that you can decide the colour of your calves.
When a bull is to be used as a terminal sire all of the traits mentioned in Kerrah’s aims are important. Ease of calving is important as profitability starts with a live calf. The most efficient animals grow the fastest and quiet cattle grow faster than their flightier counterparts. With the value of feed increasing during the winter, it is advantageous if the animal is of a killable weight and condition before it reaches its second winter. Therefore, it is important that the progeny of a bull have the genetic capacity to put on condition and finish quickly. It is important the bull himself be good doing and of good structure to maintain his own condition and able handle mating a decent number of cows on hill country.
In the maternal sense, these traits are equally as important. Ease of calving, both direct and daughters, is important for the progeny to have fewer calving problems. A replacement heifer that is to be mated at 15 months, to calve for the first time as 2 year old, needs to grow fast enough to reach a good mating weight. Easy finishing ability is important as half the bull’s progeny will be male, and any cull heifers need to be fat enough to kill, preferably before the second winter. Our herd is run under true commercial conditions. We like to recommend bulls that best suit our clients farming system, that come from our top cow families and that compliment the clients existing herd make up for maternal use. We actively encourage the adoption of crossbreeding and are happy to recommend other breeders of breeds that would compliment your Simmental to maximise your cow herd profitability and performance. We are selecting strains of polled red and black Simmentals that you can crossbreed with, but maintain a solid coloured herd and still gain all the advantages of hybrid vigour, added milking ability and early growth in a moderate cow frame, which a Kerrah Simmental can offer you.