Aileron Station, some 4,082 km2 in area and located approximately 130km north of Alice Springs continues to face severe drought conditions after a failed wet season. With an average precipitation of 380mm p.a., rainfall last year was well below average with the station only receiving between 70mm – 150mm for the year. Despite this adversity, weaning rates remained high at 87% in 2018 through the strong influence of Angus genetics within the herd and management practices.
Craig and Sarah Cook who manage Aileron Pastoral Holdings on behalf of the CAASON Group, run a mixed Hereford, Angus and Brangus X Angus female herd and join approximately 3,000 females to a mix of Angus, Droughtmaster and Brangus bulls. Approximately 2/3 of the maiden heifers are Angus or Angus influenced. The operation is run over a mix of country including open spinifex and buffel grass, mulga, open flood-out country and some range country.
Part of the success of the high weaning rate is due to early weaning practices which safeguard breeding females against dropping too far in body condition as well as feeding out loose lick, with mixes specific for heifers (high urea for bone development) and mature cows (high phosphorus for milk production).
However, it is the high level of Angus influence within the overall herd which has seen tangible results. Craig has attributed the high weaning rate with the fertility of the Angus bulls in conjunction with careful management of the female herd. In addition to the high level of fertility, the strength of the Angus gene base has allowed Craig and Sarah to make significant inroads into changing the herd composition in a timelier manner with the added benefit of increasing weight for age on Angus influenced progeny.
Progression and innovation are the corner stones for the CAASON Group and they have invested in increasing paddock numbers, watering points, technology for remote monitoring and soil health to name a few. Angus genetics continue to play a pivotal role in this journey of progression.