By: Esteban Cardona Gonzalez (Cattle Vet- Colombia South America)
Whilst placed here in Australia during COVID-19 I have been fortunate to work at a number of properties around Queensland. Recently I had the unique experience of being involved in the production of a video to promote the Simmental and Brahman Breeds. This was very exciting for me as in Colombia they are the two most common breeds with Brahman used for beef and the Simmental used for beef but also for dairy.
The objective of the video was to promote the Queensland Simmental Bull Sale by showing the benefits of the Simmental along with the Brahman breed to allow the viewer to form the logical view that the two are great together. In producing the video it was decided to do a few things a bit different to normal including that the climax of the video would be the Simmental Bull joining with the Brahman Females.
Although a bull serving females is nothing new, capturing it on camera at the required time when everyone was present (i.e. film & production crew/stud staff) would take some planning and the shoot was scheduled for a date approximately a week after the bull arrived in Moura (Central Queensland, Australia). As a vet my role was to ensure that all of the females would be “ready to go” as the film crew were scheduled on site for one day.
How we did it
On Friday we tested 10 heifers for the Simmental bull to make sure that they all had the right structure in their ovaries for the hormones to make the correct result and to ensure that they came on heat to produce a successful video. Following this on the Monday we took the same heifers to the yards and injected them at 10:30 in the morning (intramuscular) with 2ml of Cyclae (500 ug cloprostenol) which is a potent luteolytic agent (a synthetic analogue of prostaglandin F2a) that causes the functional and morphological regression of the corpus luteum. We made the decision to do that in the morning for better light conditions for the video (ideally midday) and then we waited until the Thursday for the moment the bull was introduced to the heifers
After the film crew had set up, we pushed the females close to the bull who immediately took an interest but then focussed his attention on a number of other bulls in the yards. (From this point on when observing the bull and female’s behaviour both separately and together the production became great fun with the two stud breeders enjoying sledging each other and comparing the animals to human behaviour- at a bar or nightclub)
The decision was made to just let the bull out and see what happened and I was pleased that it all worked. A number of the females were served and the video capture was wrapped up by lunch. The temperament of both breeds of animals was great- it made handling and directing them relatively easily and It was great to be involved in the marketing of livestock.
Comparisons between the Australian and Colombian Simmental
In my opinion the quality of the Simmental that I found in Australia was very impressive. I got the amazing opportunity to see some bulls that showed great temperament, structure and rusticity but the most relevant thing was their adaptability to the dry conditions of QLD.
In my country (Columbia) we also like using Simmental for recipients because of their high milk production. The Simmental also has enough capacity to produce big calves and they are also known for having sound udders. This type of animal ensures embryos express all of their genetic merit. We also like using Simmental as they have the right disposition meaning that the embryo calves are easy to handle.
Finally, I would like to say that in my country when we are using a Simmental bull to breed an impressive terminal product we like to provide the right nutrition for the animal as this expresses their genetic potential to the customer.
It continues to be great experience working with cattle in Australia, I have learnt alot about beef breeding in this country and have made many friends.
Find out more about the Simmental Breed in Australia and the Queensland Simmental Bull Sale www.qldsimmentalbullsale.com.au
Video concept, planning, production and distribution by Stud Stock Marketing Services