The Angus Affair

June 13, 2017 11:01 am

Michael and Jacinta Coffey have been present at the Hamilton weaner sales for well over a decade now, presenting some of the most highly regarded and sort after Angus weaners of the distinct annual southern weaner sale circuit.

2017 has been no exception, with the Coffey’s topping the market at Hamilton reaching $4.17/kg for a pen of 318kg Angus steers and averaging approximately $1,423/head for their entire run of 170 Angus steers.

Michael, a 4th generation Port Fairy grazier,  and wife Jacinta took over the family business in 1989, which at the time was running predominately fine wool Merino sheep.

Beef production played a secondary role in their operation, but following the wool market crash in 1992, they decided, like many, that beef production would suit them better.

Michael’s herd was a mixture of Herefords, Shorthorns and Simmentals in the early 90’s, however it quickly became apparent that the buyers wanted Angus. With the Angus-premium far out-weighing any benefits of his other breeds, the Coffey’s affair with Angus began.

After trips to the Hamilton weaner sales the path forward was clear to Michael.

“I needed to produce the best quality weight for age Angus calves I could by the time the big weaner sales came around to gain the premium for Angus that was in demand” he said.

Michael started his Angus herd with 120 top priced Angus heifers from the annual Hamilton weaner sale.

“If we were going to do it, we were going to do it properly” Michael said.

The intention was to trade heifers after joining as PTIC, however Michael and Jacinta liked them so much they kept 50% of these animals and established their own Angus breeding herd.

They continued to build their quality Angus herd by purchasing small lines of surplus heifers from local Angus seedstock producers to reach a herd size of 440 breeders, which is now self-replacing with 120 heifers annually.

“Our Angus steer weaners are nearer to feedlot weight and ready for the January sales” Michael said.

“With our Hereford-cross weaners, we just couldn’t get the weight into them in time and they were not getting the price premium of the Angus, so it made perfect sense to change”.

“We have tried other breeds before, including Charolais and F1 Angus cross, but again we couldn’t get the weight, couldn’t get the premium and couldn’t make it economical”, he said.

“I received some advice from my agent very early in the piece. Don’t worry about the money, just build a quality reputation” he commented.

Building relationships with repeat buyers of their cattle and delivering quality Angus animals every year is paramount for Michael and Jacinta.

This reputation is underpinned by focusing on consistent improvement, producing large even lines with good averages and cattle with easy doing ability along with the utilisation of TACE when selecting sires.

There are no second chances at Coffey Partnership, with heavy culling based on temperament, growth, calving ease, muscling and doability being of the highest importance.

As Michael and Jacinta continue to build on their buyer relationships, they are looking to pursue relationships with buyers that are conducive to the flow of feedback on cattle performance.

By utilising this information, they plan to continually improve and maintain their reputation for quality to keep buyers coming back for more year after year.

Angus steers offered by the Coffey’s during the Hamilton weaner sales reached $4.17/kg

Top Image: Michael and Jacinta Coffey with some of the Angus weaners from their Port Fairy property. Michael’s family has been in the district for over 160 years.