Our family has owned the original Daylesford property since 1965 having originally started as the base of operations for the petroleum business, Kookaburra Gas. The first cattle we had on the property back in the 1960’s were Angus, but they were only a precursor to the future, with the family focussing its attention on running Kookaburra. In 1986 we sold our petroleum business and decided to get serious about the cattle industry. We examined and assessed the various cattle breeds on offer and decided we could not go past Angus for breeding seedstock. We now run Angus beef cattle on 1500 acres split across 3 properties in the Daylesford and Mount Franklin district.
Building the Stud
We bought our initial stud cattle from the Tibooburra Angus Stud in Victoria and The Basin Stud in South Australia. We found this blend worked well producing animals that performed in our environment (it gets cold in Daylesford!) and out in the market place. Artificial insemination and embryo transplant has been used extensively to build herd quality.
To accelerate our progress and to introduce some genetics that were somewhat different to what the general Australian industry was using, we made contact with an American Angus breeder and exporter, Gerry Helgreen from Illinois, and requested his assistance in selecting one bull and three heifers to bring to Australia. Wayne and Rose ventured to the United States in 1996 and after careful selection, four animals were decided upon.
High Spa Bullion 6801 (Imp USA)
The imported bull, High Spa Bullion 6801 (Imp USA) was selected for the outstanding performance and quality of his ancestors in the USA as well as its positive traits in the areas of structural correctness and temperament.
His worth has been reflected in his progeny, his steers perform well at the feedlot and his bulls in production have provided the desired high growth and carcase with maximum feed efficiency and many a son and daughter has also excelled in the show ring.
Sadly on February 8th 1998, at just 23 months of age, Bullion was found dead on the farm after an electrical storm with an autopsy revealing he had suffered severe internal injuries after being struck by lightning.
His semen is still available. There are many 6801 daughters in production and we believe that Bullion has made a strong contribution to the Australian herd and still has much to offer.
Innovation, measuring for feed efficiency
We at High Spa became interested in the concept of economical breeding by selecting animals which are more efficient than others. We were one of the very first producers to undertake on farm testing via a unit from Ruddweigh Australia to assist in the development of Group Breedplan EBV’s for Net Feed Efficiency.
We also took the innovative step to take part in IGF trials to determine the relationship of the hormone insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) to feed efficiency, fattening and marbling in cattle.
For those who are dubious about the relevance of feed efficiency in the breeding of cattle, or believe that it is just a matter of size, that smaller cattle will eat less and bigger cattle will eat more, it is worthwhile talking to us one day about just how enlightening some of our 70 day on farm tests were in this regard!
Semen rights to top performing bulls
To complement the genetics, carcase and growth of our herd we obtained the semen rights for two of America’s top performing bulls BAR EXT Traveler 205 and Rito 6I6 of 4B20 6807. Both bulls continue to display a low birth to growth spread and they are now reflecting their worth in both our own and other Australian herds. We have now (2011) sold or used all semen from these two outstanding bulls.
Moving on and Annual Field Days
We continue to introduce genetics to build herd quality and use AI extensively for both spring and autumn calving so that our clients can excel in meeting their market demands.
We are designated suppliers and supporters of The Certified Australian Angus Beef Program. This program is generating benefits from the producer to the consumer. During Stock & Land Beef Week each year we participate by holding a Field Day at High Spa where people can view our animals with private sales opportunities (as well as at your convenience all year around by appointment) Large numbers of bulls and females are conveniently penned in the one vicinity for inspection, along with information on each animal displayed. The atmosphere is relaxed and inviting with light refreshments available and surrounds of other informative industry displays. Since 2007 we have also held a Spring Open Day (initially this was part of a beef week initiative) and have continued to do so although there is no longer an official spring beef week. At High Spa we put in a supreme effort to make sure your visit at any time is enjoyable and worthwhile.
Our breeding objective is to breed functional Angus cattle with a balance of growth, fertility and carcase quality, backed with strong performance records which will enable clients to produce cattle which will meet their required market specifications and create increased profits. We focus our breeding on being consistent, predictable and adaptable, on maternal excellence and fertility, genetic power, feed efficiency and conversion and proven carcase performance, ensuring customer satisfaction and success.
We invite you to visit us on farm at any time by appointment or at our field days