Behind every good bull there’s an innovative breeder with a story and LIC’s Short Gestation Length (SGL) Hereford team is no exception.
It all started way back in 2001, around a South Island kitchen table, when forward thinking farmers John and Liz McKerchar of Shrimpton’s Hill Herefords discussed the idea of breeding bulls with shorter gestations.
Having bred Herefords since 1969, the McKerchars had seen trends come and go but sensed that short gestation beef bulls would have a long term place in the dairy industry market.
Hedging their bets (and ignoring a few sideways glances from their counterparts!) John and Liz began sourcing the very best short gestation Herefords available, both male and female.
They set about using a large-scale AI programme which they were to spend the next decade establishing.
Today, the couple possess an elite SGL herd, and they’re widely acknowledged as being at the forefront of SGL Hereford genetics in Australasia.
Coincidentally, at the LIC genetics group annual meeting in 2001, the idea of starting a short gestation programme was floated.
LIC geneticists, along with the McKerchars, were acutely aware that the dairy industry needed a natural solution to help later calving dairy cows in seasonal calving herds regain lost ground in calving pattern.
In the Hereford SGL space LIC quickly recognised there was one set of breeders who stood out from the rest. From there a partnership was formed.
During the past few years there has been rapid progress and rising demand.
In fact the concept has proven so popular in New Zealand that LIC has now decided to offer their SGL Hereford product internationally.
The progeny, with shorter gestation lengths than their breed average, helps provide:
- more days in milk;
- good white face markings for ease of calf identification and management on dairy farms; and
- great beef cross calves suitable for rearing by the beef industry.
John and Liz continue to graze and breed many of the shortest gestation length stud animals in the SGL Hereford industry on their beautiful farm in the scenic South Island of New Zealand.
Find out more about LIC’s SGL Hereford solutions from your local LIC representative.