Within the Hereford breed in Australasia, Gestation Length has a recorded range of +9.7 days longer to -11.4 days shorter than the breed average.
This 21 day variation (a whole cycle) in Gestation Length, has the potential to have a massive impact on cattle management and profitability.
Usually longer gestation length means larger calves at birth and more calving troubles. The reverse of course exists with Short Gestation genetics. Gestation Length, Birth Weight, and Calving Ease tend to be closely correlated.
With a 21 day variation or 10.5 days (allowing half the genetic influence from the male), the Hereford breed could change the average Dairy Cow income, by as much as $132 per lactation (10.5 days x 1.8kgms/day x $ 7 /kg payout).
Short Gestation genetics are financially substantial for the Dairy Industry.Not only does short gestation help produce more days in milk, it is also a natural answer to reducing inductions.
Shrimpton’s Hill Hereford’s Short Gestation breeding programme was established in 2001, selecting only for this single trait, specifically for the Dairy bull and semen markets.
Today we are the breeders of the leading Herefords, both male and female in Australasia, for Short Gestation Length (S G L).
Recognising this LIC (Livestock Improvement Corporation), have entered into a breeding relationship with Shrimpton’s Hill Herefords, to supply semen for their domestic and international markets.
Our relationship with LIC has meant our breeding programme has a far greater focus on gestation length, to the benefit of the Dairy Industry and especially now, with the latest induction protocol.
We can now concentrate on the single trait, Gestation Length, but keeping a close eye on Birth Weight and Calving Ease without losing sight of the special traits our Hereford breed, brings to any market.
Our partnership with LIC has extended to the trademarking of the abbreviation S G L (Short Gestation Length), to market ground- breaking genetics to the Dairy industry. This product is hugely beneficial to all milk harvesters, in naturally counteracting the inducing legislation and providing increased profit, through the extra days in milk!!
S G Lactivity to date at LIC, delivers in excess of a million extra days in milk per season and in the current economic environment S G L continues to be LIC’s strongest growing semen sales category.
Currently we have 6 sires stationed at LIC’s Newstead bull farm on frozen and fresh semen duty.
Our S G L sire SHH 13-21 is on international semen duty and is based at LIC’s Awahuri base in the Manawatu.
Our four females SH14-2, SH15-9 and SH10-415 and SH 16-5 are presently at Animal Breeding Services (ABS) supplying embryos to LIC and Shrimpton’s Hill Herefords for the 2018 breeding programmes.
Since the commencement of our breeding partnership with LIC, we have had some serious movement in genetic gain, with respect to gestation length. We have had several calves born up to a month early and the great majority of our embryo transplant (E.T.) calves arriving at least a cycle early. We are now in a position to be mating E.T. offspring with E.T. offspring, creating a
S G L population at the outer limits of the bell curve.
Shrimpton’s Hill Herefords is the largest supplier of beef genetics to the New Zealand meat industry, siring well over 100,000 calves annually. While Gestation Length has been a major focus, we acknowledge the importance of other traits such as growth, meat yield and intra-muscular fat, relevant in enhancing the maximum potential of all progeny.
While Shrimpton’s Hill Herefords continues to push the S G L envelope, we are getting great satisfaction from our breeding results, and adding value to our clients’ bottom line.