By Andrew Miller, Stock and Land
The experience of nearly 30 years of selling bulls, semen and embryos, all over Australia and overseas has contributed to the ongoing success of Westernport Simmental and Black Simmental stud, Hazel Dell.
Stud owner Scott Andersen now runs 100 breeders, 60 black and 40 Simmentals, at Corinella, after taking over the stud where he first started work when he left school at 18.
“I ended up buying the herd off Dr Peter Trevan, who set up the stud,” he said.
Building on the work of Dr Trevan, who died in 2014, Mr Andersen has transitioned into Black Simmentals on the 240 hectare property and adjacent lease blocks.
“We ran some Simmental bulls over Hereford cows and just got so much more weight and milk out of them – I’ve liked them ever since,” Mr Andersen said.
“We can sell Black Simmental bulls all day long.”
After starting with the Trevan herd, Mr Andersen said he branched out to buy Webb Simmental heifers and had recently been using Trevor Hatch’s Three Oaks, Athlone, stud bulls. Mr Andersen became interested in the Webb females when he bought some to run commercially.
“Then we saw they were pretty good cows, and well-bred, so we just started breeding some bulls out of them,” he said.
He said he believed there was more size and milk in the Simmental females, which were also easy calving. His breeding theory has been backed by Gippsland dairy farmers from Leongatha, Stony Creek and Fish Creek, who purchase Hazel Dell Simmentals.
“There are a lot of dairy farmers, around too, and they want quiet bulls and easy calving for their Friesians,” he said.
“The Simmental-Friesian cross is a really good female, with plenty of milk and plenty of size.”
While he said buyers had turned off Simmentals for a while, the breed was now back in favor with many commercial operators.
“Back in the day, when Simmentals were really popular, we used to sell a lot of semen and embryos and export cattle, but they lost flavor for a while,” he said.
“Now the breed is going pretty strong in Victoria, South Australia and NSW.
“There were some calving ease issues with some American bloodlines that came out but that’s all been rectified now.”
Mr Andersen said he was breeding for good muscle and confirmation. The 60 Black Simmental high fertility cows were being joined to two Three Oaks bulls.
“Cows have a calf every year, or they go,” he said.
Because of the lease blocks, and lack of infrastructure, it was too hard to run an AI program, he said. Commercial cattle were sold through the markets at Leongatha.
“Traditionally we wean the calves in the spring at eight and a half months old, and around 400 kilograms,” he said.
“We usually sell about 10 animals at the open day, by private treaty. It’s a mix of dairy farmers, who like the Black Simmentals, and a few beef guys, who put them over first calving heifers for vealers.
“I think we will breed a few more Black Simmental bulls.”
The area had been enjoying a better season, after a “terrible year” in 2017.
“This year is green, there’s good clover and rye, and the cattle are all fat,” Mr Andersen said.
Rotational grazing was practised on the Corinella blocks.
“This country is pretty sandy, so it dries off in summer, and you have to pump the super and potash into it,” Mr Andersen said.
Because of the good season, Mr Andersen will increase his breeding herd.
Featured on day three of Stock & Land Beef Week, Mr Anderson said the event enabled him to meet clients and promote his bulls.