Circle8 bulls: 30 years of breeding angus

Circle8 bulls: 30 years of breeding angus

Recognising that female cattle are a critical facet for developing your herd, Jeremy and Carmen Cooper have decided to sell an entire year’s quotient of their heifers at this year’s on-property Angus bull sale.

This generous decision is to celebrate Jeremy’s 30th year of breeding cattle under the Circle8 brand. 

“This year is my 30th year of breeding Angus bulls that excel in key economic traits,” Jeremy says. “We’re doubling the bulls we sell at auction this year, and selling the complete S-drop of females.I thought of putting a few females in the sale for people who are starting out. With feedback, we decided to sell them all.

“We still own the mothers and have full sisters on the ground and embryos in the can, so this sale is an opportunity for Angus breeders to align closely with the genetic gains that we’ve achieved.”

The heifer sale – and additional bulls – are a unique opportunity to buy into a genetic program that uses embryo transfer and recipient cows. 

A Circle8 bull.

The line of 80 S-drop heifers are yearlings. 

Jeremy has added to the sale pregnancy-tested-in-calf heifers joined by artificial insemination to Millah Murrah Paratrooper, and the foetuses have been sexed in-utero.

“There is up to six generations of verified pedigree and EBVs for Paratrooper, and that type of data works in well with our genetic program,” Jeremy said. 

The female sale is also unique, because normally Circle8 donor cows and embryos are tightly held within the stud.

There will be 70 Angus bulls offered during the on-property sale. 

Six months of almost-daily rainfall, including 203 mm of rain over four days in March, has challenged Jeremy’s management, but he is pleased with the form of all cattle. 

“This has been the hardest preparation campaign and it’s been hard on the cattle. We’ve worked hard to make sure we’ve raised them ethically and comfortably as much as possible in the environment we’ve been given,” Jeremy says. 

That included every day moving the cattle into a forage crop to graze and bedding them at night on higher ground, where they received pellets.

“It was easy because the bulls are so quiet,” Jeremy says. 

Animal welfare and ethical practices are important to Jeremy and Carmen. They believe all breeding should be done with the consumer in mind. 

“The modern consumer wants to have a direct line of vision back to the piece of steak or other protein that they’re consuming. Management practices on-farm need to be acceptable to consumers, so they’ll buy our products, otherwise we’ll be out of business.”  

Jeremy Cooper

“So we have to make adjustments on-farm to create standard operating practices that are acceptable to consumers. The animal welfare we practice daily today is totally different to what happened when I was a kid. I love my cows and I want to make sure they’re doing their thing in a comfortable environment.”

Jeremy and Carmen Cooper with some of their prized bulls.

As well as doubling the number of Circle8 bulls that will be available for sale this year, Jeremy is increasing the number of Wagyu bulls he breeds with an eye to hosting an on-property Wagyu bull sale in a few years. 

“All the Wagyu are custom bred and sold to two offtake partners on order,” he says. “This year we’re starting to put more Wagyu embryos into recipient cows, which will give new clients the opportunity to come in to our program for these genetics. 

“I’m really pleased with the performance data from the bulls.

“We’re still looking outside the box for other sires to bring into the Angus and Wagyu programs, but only as they complement what we’re doing, that drives profitability for our customers.

“Getting there is a slow process that takes more than one generation. Over the last 15 years, we’ve focussed on identifying and classifying and selecting, from our herd, the cows we breed that will help us produce that. We’ve raised the bar on our selection criteria and progressed our herd genetically. Our level of discipline used today is 100 times better than when we started out. 

“In 30 years, I’ve collected decades of reproduction data from our breeding programs. 

“The bulls we’re breeding, I’ve artificially inseminated their mothers, grandmothers, their great grandmothers and great great grandmothers, and I’ve collected a lot of data, and observed their growth from when they’re on the ground. That data collection is focussed on basic elements – fertility, longevity, phenotype, sustainability and eating quality. 

“We’re now collecting semen from our own bulls and using that to put back in our herd to line breed.” 

Circle8 has a national footprint selling bulls and Jeremy also breeds Wagyu bulls, tailored to customer order, with a two year waiting list.

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