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The Nucleus Herd

The nucleus herd is being run at Haldon Station, which .is in the heart of che Mackenzie Country on the Canterbury shore of Lake Benmore. Altitude varies from 1200 ft at the home- stead to 6,200 ft at the back. The rainfall averages arc between 11 and 20 inches a )·car. \Vinten. are cold and the summers long and drought)'· The 35,000 acres carries I 0,000 Merinos and 500 head of cattle, at a carrying capacity of .33 ewe equiva~

lent.s to the acre. There are adequate facilities at the station to handle 500 cow~. These include an efficient paddock system,

and yard<; pecially de:.igned for artificial breeding.

At present the nucleus herd consists of 220 cows, all selected on their wcani11g performance . These come from 14 contri-

buting herds with a total of some 6,000 cows. The herds have been creened for cows that wean the heaviest calv~ and are themselves 100% structurally sound. In future cows will re- quire co h:l\'e . everal year. of vel") high performance before

being accepted for the nucleu!l herd.

The nucleus herd is intensively managed during calving and at mating. It jc; grazed in a number of small paddocks that to save enough feed are c;hut up well in advance of use. From here tht: herd spends the remainder of the year on the hill and after weaning they are u..."<:d to break in rougher country but their body-weights are restored four to six weeks before calving.

Bulls and heifer calves are run in their respective mobs at all time.5 lO ensure they all get the i:ame opportunity for growlh.

These are fed the besl grass on the station.

The nucleus cows were inseminated to progeny-tested bulls from Britain, Australia and New Zealand through an AB service conducted by the company's own technician.

Every ) rar the company \\ i II continue to screen herds from throughout the country. We are sure that superior cows will always be discovered in outside herds, especially as semen from all bulls used to service the nucleus herd will be made available to participaling breeder~ in the same year. In this way superior genetic material will reach the outside herds in ru. fa.st a way as possible.


Typicol hill country where the nucleus herd will be run except at calving and AB ervicing when paddocks arc used.

Photo: courtc~y J I S Innes

How the Nucleus Herd Operates

\Vhcn cows come for selection lo the nucleus herd the~ spend two )Can- in the nuclcu" tcstin~ herd during whirh the) must produce l\\.O consecuti\'e cal\'C!' in thr top 200-da) -\\Cight ~roup

before being considered for compan) purchase. Thi.'1 l\ .. O-)Car period al<;<> gives us time 10 take a 15-month corrected weight on each


's first calf '~ hich should have attained a minimum of 600 lb at this age. J f a co, .. produces two cah·cs in the top bracket the compan) will purchao;e the cow from the O\\ner \\ho is paid $I 00 worth of shares in the company plu!) a percentage in cash, depending on the cow':. 1 <1ting in the herd.

ln this way a cow is valued on h(•r production.

\\'hilc cow are in the te;ting herd, they and their progem are still the propertr of thrir contributors who pa) the compan) I 00 per cow annual!) to cover graLing. management, insemina- tion and o\'crhead cost.' a -.ociatccl with the rearing of calves to

15 months of age. \\'e intend to rc,·iC\\ this ser\'irc charge ever)


Nucleus bulls \\<ill be mated at 15 months of age, either through natural serviC'C or artificial breeding. All bulls used over Lhc nucleus herd will be progeny tested, and the carcass data analysed from all the male progeny at slaughter. Bullr,

"ill probabh· be used O\'er thr nucleus for onl~ one ~car.


Left: The bail used £or AB servicing. There are vet. gates on each side al the rear of the cow.

Right: The internal lane to a dozen paddocks simplifies handling at calving and AB servicing.

Photos: f. T. S. Innes.

As I have said already, if a nucleus sire is bred from a tested cow, the company will have the right to purchase it. However, the company aims to use as wide a range of proven sires as possible for the near future until it is able to breed its own bulls. Even then it will continue to search for high-performance proven bulls from any outside source, provided they can make a genetic improvement to the nucleus herd.

Distribution of Bulls

We aim to get the genetic material that is bred in the nucleus herd quickly diffused into contributing herds. We therefore emphasise the use of semen from bulls being used over the nuc- leus herd in contributing herds as well.

Bulls bred on the property will be selected on their corrected 15-month weight which is the corrected 200-day weight added to the gain from weaning to 15 months. Structural soundness will also be taken strict account of. Bulls surplus to the nucleus herd will be sold to participating breeders. Prices will depend on the bull's ranking in the herd and the amount of capital the company requires to function.

We propose to keep prices to members as low as possible.

Bulls are to be distributed on a roster with first pick going to breeders with cows in the nucleus herd, second pick to breeders with cows in the testing herd, and third pick to breeders with cows in any testing herd in New Zealand that is associated with Genepcol.


Leh photo shows the AB service facilities and on the right are in-calr rising two-year heifers

Photos: 1. I. S. limes.

Selection of Heifers

Heifers are selected for both growth rate and mothering ability and must produce a calf as a two-year-old. First culling is on their corrected 15-month weight and second culling is of any 15-month heifer not getting in calf. All heifers must spend two years in the testing herd before being considered for entry to the companr herd. Hence they enter the testing herd before their first calving and are compared to the rest of the herd during that period.

The bull (facing) was from 11 two-year heifer. He weighed 8351b at IOi months, a daily growth rate of 2.61b. If he continues to grow well he will be used at 15 months to service port of the testing herd. The other two Herefords are the same age.

Photo: I. I. S. Innes.


Recording Systems

All calves are tagged at birth with Ritchie eartags. Every animal has a punch card which shows individual performance on the front and progeny performance on the reverse. Data is printed .onto these cards from the New Zealand sheep and beef cattle survey computer programme which calculates weaning weights corrected to 200 days. The average corrected weights for the Haldon run herd for the 1971 season were bulls 540 lb and ranging from 526 lb to 659 lb, heifers 495 lb and ranging from 473 lb to 610 lb.

Calves at weaning are registered on the Gower Beef Computer (Hamilton) for comparative growth recording to 15 months of age. This is an efficient service and ideal for the purposes of Genepool. Heifers at Baldon last year averaged 620 lb at 15 months.

Any progeny not up to standard or that are below average will be culled.

Genepool is a large scale co-operative scheme set up to apply all the resources that arc today available to breeders, in the hope that participants in the scheme will benefit through better quality Herefords.

Opinion: The Institute does not necessarily agree with the views expressed in contributed papers published in the Review.

Bra11d Names: Occasional reference to trade names and products does not imply endorsement.

Reference: Quotation from articles ma)• be made if the source is acknowledged.

Copyright: Requests to reproduce articles in full should be made to the Director of the bistitute.



Committee of Management

D. McLeod (Chairman), High-Countr)' Committee of Federated Farmers.

L. P. Chapman (Deputy-Chairman), New Zealand Wool Board & Meat Producers Board.

I. L. Baumgart, Department of Scientific and Industrial Research.

Dr M. M. Burns, Lincoln College.

J. S. Engle, Department of Lands and Survey.

A. F. Greenall, Soil Conservation and Rivers Control Council.

W. V. Hadfield, Department of Agriculture.

J. T. Holloway, New Zealand Forest Service.

The Hon. J. K. McAlpine, Lincoln College Council.

A. L. Poole, Soil Conservation and Rivers Control Council.

A. S. Scaife, High-Country Committee of Federated Farmers.


H. G. Hunt, Lincoln College

Management Officer:

J. G. Hughes (Tel. 534 Springston)



Dr K. F. O'Connor Agronomist:

G. A. Dunbar (Tel. 588-278 Ch'ch)

Dr E. G. White (Tel. 41-449 Ch'ch)



Planning Officer:

J. A. Hayward (Tel. 45-732 Ch'ch)


]. Runga

I. Fryer, H. H. Orr, R. Veltman

J'ostal Address:

Box 56,

Lincoln College, Christchurch.

Secretary-typist: Miss H. R. Faulls


Halswell 8029