Breeding Plans for a Fine Beef Herd with our Head Stockman
If you go for a walk around the estate, you may spot our magnificent Aberdeen Angus pedigree bulls. Carole Bamford, our founder, chose this breed from Daylesford’s early days because of the perfect fit with an organic, sustainable, foraged-based farming system.
Every Aberdeen Angus bull at Daylesford is carefully selected and paired with the best breeding females to perform the essential role of creating new life on the farm. None of this happens by chance, so invited our Head Stockman Phil Gordon- Jones to share some insight into the complexities of the breeding programme at Daylesford.
Phil Gordon-Jones knew he wanted to be a farmer from the tender age of seven and has been Head Stockman at Daylesford for nearly five years. He loves to share glimpses of life on the farm and his day-to-day activity via his Instagram account @pgordonjones.
“One of my roles is to produce the breeding plan for our ninety Aberdeen Angus breeding females and pair them to our five working bulls.
The most important thing to consider is the preservation of bloodlines within the herds, making sure they stay pure and strong. When selecting females for breeding with our bulls, the first thing I look at is parentage of the sires: who is the mother, sister and granddaughter of each sire.
In addition, I look at their EBV (Estimated Breed Value) – a score that tells me how a cow’s calf has performed over the years, as well as how a future calf might perform when the cow is bred with a specific sire. This essential software tool is only as good as the information you input, so I spend a lot of my time weighing and measuring growth rates and registering these performance records with the relevant breed societies. These measures allow me to match the best cows to the best bulls and also to benchmark our animals with herds across the world.
Here at Daylesford, our pedigree Aberdeen Angus foundation herd came from some of the best bloodlines in the country, and is now held in high regard by some of the leading breeders in the world. Last June we were honoured to host part of the World Aberdeen Angus Forum and welcomed 110 top class breeders from all over the world to Daylesford farm, where they saw for themselves a thriving, organic Aberdeen Angus herd in their prime – a very proud moment for Daylesford.
One of our pedigree Aberdeen Angus bulls is Daylesford Enzo, who was born at Daylesford the same week I started working here, almost five years ago.
He was such a beautifully strong calf with good parentage, so I chose to keep him for our breeding programme. At 24 months old he weighed 980kg, and now, coming up to five, he weighs 1.2 tons! Very big, very powerful, but gentle – he’ll often come up for a head scratch; he just sometimes forgets that I’m not a scratching post! He is on his third outing and is running with twenty pedigree Aberdeen Angus females. We have high hopes for his future and his contribution to our breeding stock; all his offspring to date have reached the Daylesford standard. So look out for Enzo from next spring: he is an outstanding representation of the Aberdeen Angus breed, and a marvel to the eye.”
This initiative supports the UN Sustainable Development Goals.