The best outcome of your bull breeding program is the quality of the meat in the paddock, the boning room and on the plate. To get those outcomes takes commitment to genetics and an active awareness of what the consumer expects around marbling, meat quality and taste.
Circle8bulls principal Jeremy Cooper helps his clients achieve those goals.
The Circle8 team custom-breeds Wagyu and Angus bulls for NSW and southern Queensland customers whose focus is terminal markets via the feedlot sector.
“I’m passionate about the food industry and feeding people,” Jeremy says. “I’m passionate about producing a healthy food product in a rainfall-challenged environment and modern consumers’ expectations of production.”
The stud’s annual Angus bull sale is held in September, but the service to customers is year-round.
“We provide a lot of customer and client support, assisting them with genetic analysis and marketing their livestock,” Jeremy says. “We have a 29-year history of breeding bulls that excel in key economic traits.”
He wants Circle8 to be recognised for a social and ethical license to breed livestock.
“We want our bulls to look good, breed well and be efficient, keeping in mind the breeder’s expectations of how their livestock needs to be used,” Jeremy says. “We also want ourselves and our customers to be recognised as good custodians of the world, in line with consumers’ expectations of animal welfare.”
Premium handcrafted livestock
There is a considerable team around the genetic selection and production of Circle8 bulls. Working alongside Jeremy is his wife Carmen, mother Pamela, and consulting vet Dr Liz Bramley of Cooinda Vet Hospital, who oversees the complete development of the bulls. Bill Cornell, of ABS Global Australia, is Jeremy’s personal mentor, while David Christie manages the domestic embryo production.
“Our business wouldn’t be what it is without Dave,” Jeremy says.
Dr Steve Williams and Total Livestock Genetics help administer Circle8’s Wagyu genetic export program. Dr Reon Holm and Holbrook Veterinary Clinic raise all the embryo transfer calves for the Circle8 breeding program. Carter Livestock Genetics assist with Circle8’s embryo selling program.
The Wagyu breeding program is 100 per cent ET. “We raise the Wagyu calves at Holbrook and Crookwell. We select the top 1 per cent of heifers to create the next generation,” Jeremy says.
The remaining heifers are sold to a regular client who runs a commercial agribusiness.
“It’s a massive investment in breeding, but it means our clients buy bulls bred from cows that have real carcase data,” Jeremy says. “That flows back into the discipline around our AI program.”
All Wagyu bulls are sold pre-ordered, with a two-year waiting list.
In the genes
The Angus seedstock agribusiness has been established longer, since 1991. Genetic analysis is prime, as is a sound understanding of clients’ businesses; this knowledge enables Jeremy to advise Circle8 customers on the best sires to use in their systems.
In some circumstances, that means advising Circle8’s clients to use Wagyu bulls over their heifers, before moving on to using Angus bulls.
“The whole thing about Circle8 is customer service. I view it like a marriage and I’ll help our clients as much as I can,” Jeremy says.
Circle8’s Angus herd, like their Wagyu cattle, is produced by ET and AI. It enables the stud to accelerate the breeding program, and provides clients with assurance around the type of Angus bulls they are buying.
“We’ll have 24 full sisters in our Angus herd, and those sisters will be bred to the same Angus bull,” Jeremy says. “That brings genetic consistency to the commercial herds.
“The commercial breeding sector is shifting to use fixed timed AI, and those people are looking to use sons of the AI sires they are using in FTAI. Ultimately, our clients’ herds become a genetic mirror of our herds. That’s our point of difference.”
It’s a system that also provides accuracy in the performance data.
“We make joining decisions based on incremental science and old-school things like soft silky skin and short fine hair, to gauge and predict eating quality. But, ultimately, the bulls have to look like bulls,” Jeremy says. All the Angus bulls are sold at auction – this year the on-property sale is on September 13, and is a forerunner to next year’s 30th anniversary of Circle8’s business of breeding Angus bulls.
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