Identifying cows on heat used to be a time-consuming task on Owen and Cathy Copinga’s Southland dairy farm.
A new Angus X Dairy tag, launched in partnership by Angus New Zealand, CRV Ambreed and Allflex, allows farmers to tag and identify dairy calves which are 50% Angus, having been sired by a registered Angus or Performance Recorded Angus Cattle (PRAC) bull.
Angus breed representative Guy Sargent says the ultimate goal with the new tag is to ensure dairy farmers get the premiums they deserve for higher value offspring. It also gives the buyer of a calf certainty about what their purchase.
“It’s to improve the integrity of the offspring,” says Sargent.
“Angus cattle are highly sought after and the tags verify that a verified Angus sire has been used over the dairy cow.”
Using registered or PRAC recorded Angus bulls allows farmers to tag their progeny with Angus X Dairy tags. These bright green tags identify the premium quality of the offspring, enabling the dairy farmer to attract higher premiums at the point of the sale and further down the supply chain.
Beef semen has become a more attractive option for dairy farmers wanting to on-sell calves to the beef industry, adding greater value to their business and making sure every mating results in a saleable calf.
Last year was a record year for beef semen sales for CRV Ambreed with an 8% jump in beef straw sales. This trend is expected to continue.
And the return is good: a straw of beef semen costs about $20 and quality dairy/beef bull calves sell at $150 to $300.
Grazing product manager Peter van Elzakker says dairy farmers in the past may have chosen other beef breeds over Angus because their offspring can be harder to identify among other black calves. The return may not be as good if a calf cannot be verified as Angus, he says.
Only dairy farmers using registered or PRAC Angus bulls with their herd, either via AB or natural mating, may use the tags on their progeny.
The Angus X Dairy Allflex tags are fully compliant with NAIT regulations. They are compatible with all dairy and beef operations and are endorsed by Angus New Zealand.