Dr Vercoe’s Chart

Now, what was not in the literature was measurement of cost or quantity of inputs, and the most important parameter, of reproduction speed. Fast forward to the late 1980s…

Dr Vercoe's chart Figure 1 Diagramatic representation of the G (genotype) x E (environment) for Bos Taurus (HS), Bos Indicus, the interbred cross (FnBHS) and the F1 cross (F1BHS) showing the decline in proportion of production potential expressed as the combined level of environmental stress increases. The shaded area denotes heterosis in the F1 when heterosis is defined as the increase over the better parent.
Source: Dr John Vercoe & Dr John Frisch, Ref. paper AJAS 1992 Vol.5 (No.3) p405

Our aim was to produce a highly adapted CBV composite with well recorded credentials for productivity.

Brahmans at ‘Belah Valley’ had already set a course and were delivering genetics with integrity, so that was the foundation on which to build, and to make comparison by analysis and commercial earnings.

I believe the importance is in knowing what factors impact at various adaptation levels, and subsequent effect on profit.

A dozen significant factors are:

  • Ticks, worms, flies, heat, cold, humidity, lactation, excessive rain, long dry seasons, pasture digestibility, protein levels, mineral deficiencies, distance to water, and terrain.

We must have a practical method of quantifying these threats to our business; then have a plan.

None of these factors are of much threat on their own, but taken that in most typical years we can  experience most of these stressors, then the  cumulative effect can be devastating on expression of heterosis, or ‘hybrid vigour’.  A  sobering thought is that all the heifers we breed need to be resilient enough to handle all the stresses that arise from our management and Nature, to keep their position in your herd for eight or ten years or more. That is with no gaps, no excuses, and no regrets. 

This is THE role of adaptation. Adaptation is the final arbiter of profit.

At Belah Valley the most direct route to sort out all  of the above is to require a weaned calf, plus a  pregnancy, on our early schedule for every year of ownership.  This is simple, decisive, and final.

Adaptation is no small subject, and it is the raft that northern Australian herds sail to success on. Indeed all tropical beef industry globally depends on adaptation and natural resistances.

The CSIRO research (Chart 5) dealt only with the basic effects on growth.  My observation has been that in the tropics, the cumulative effect of environmental stressors on reproduction speed and efficiency are even more profound than on growth.  I am basing this on measuring sets of crossbred cattle for expression of puberty and   reproduction speed, comparing body-weight and using contemporary CBV Brahmans for the base herd.

Looking only at kilograms per head will disguise earnings per hectare, pregnancy rate per hectare, and growth per hectare, on a static time line on any rolling 10 year assessment.  Assessing only KG gain per head will also disguise profit per hectare, or unit per gain per unit of input.

This is indeed dangerous ground.  For example, high input costs too often simply negate profit.  Heterosis is wonderful when you operate in a perfect world, yet fails dismally if you don’t factor in the impact of cumulative stressors, in reality. To ignore natural resistances and adaptation is perilous at very least.

Think globally, act locally….

Low costs and profit have been in every article I have written, and this season we have excellent illustration of these needs, with volatile cattle prices (http://www.cattlefacts.com.au/Index2.asp) and high costs, such as dry lick, infrastructure, fuel, transport, borrowing costs, and rations seeping over our balance sheet.  Quite a lot of this is beyond our control, yet certainly there is plenty we can do right inside our own barb-wire.  Management is the key to all our pursuits, and CBV genetics are icing on the cake.  You cannot manage what you don’t measure.

CBV manages and measures, to ensure integrity from our genetics to your herds.