The North Island Limousin Bull Trial has seen some excellent growth rates now that in November the grass has hardened off in the Waikato. The 13 bulls are being run in the hills behind Matamata, in fact very near to the world famous Hobbiton tourist attraction. Luckily there is nothing Hobbit-like about the 15 month old Limousin bulls in the bull trial.
The bulls are weighed monthly and after 2 months the heaviest bull, a son of Mandayan Vision is 558kg with a weight gain of 77kg or 2.8kg/day for the last month. The highest gain in the last month was 85kg achieved by a son of home bred Sentosa Emporer. The average daily weight gain for the group was 2.43kg so all bulls are doing well. They are also judged for temperament whenever they are handled. The bulls are settling in the routine well and this time they even came into the yards to the call. The weighing was uneventful with good behavior from both handlers and bulls!
“We are quite fortunate with the support from the steering committee as well as Richard Maxwell and his band of helpers. Richard has been overseas but left the farm in capable hands and even the neighbour turned up to help convenor, Liz Maslin manages the process and keeps a watchful eye over progress” said Julie Evans of Grayleen Stud and bull trial secretary this year.
The Maxwell property is a commercial operation with a good proportion of strong hill country. There are also new yards and handling facilities which will work well for the on farm auction planned for early June 2014. It is important that the bulls are farmed under commercial conditions that are comparable to the conditions they are required to work in once sold. In New Zealand’s North Island commercial beef operation conditions vary considerably but many are on steep country similar to parts of the Limousin region in France.
A good mix of international and home grown genetics are represented this year as well as a good proportion of polled bulls. The focus is on producing high quality bulls under normal pasture based conditions. It is important to keep introducing new genetics, but at the same time it is interesting to note that some of the best performing bulls at previous trials under these conditions have been New Zealand genetics.
Allan McKenzie, Dot Kroef and Liz Maslin weighing bulls in the North Island Bull Trial
Bulls in the North Island Bull Trial check out a new paddock