Senepol Composite Bulls

The biggest gain to be made in the Australian beef industry is increasing fertility rates across predominantly Bos indicus herds in Northern Australia. A lack of fertility in Northern Australia , can be attributed to two variables:- genetics and nutrition.

The secret to maximising pregnancy rates in Northern Australia under the genetics banner, is in using adapted Bos Taurus breeds in the crossbreeding mix. Temperate Bos Taurus breeds (Angus, Charolais, Shorthorn etc.) are very fertile in their own environments, such as Britain, Europe or Southern Australia.

However, in Northern Australia's hot, dry and seasonally wet tropical climate, parasite loads, low nutrition and long distances, can override the productive traits of these British and European breeds, so much so, their own survival can be in jeopardy.



Barkly - 50% Senepol, 50% Droughtmaster

The Bos Indicus breeds [Brahman, Zebu, Sahiwal etc.) are renowned for their survival traits in harsh northern environments. However high fertility rates, are not necessarily evident in these Bos indicus breeds. In the CRC 2 program, it was found that 42 % of Bos indicus cows were not cycling whilst having a calf on them, as opposed to only 8% of the adapted Bos Taurus composites.

Adapted Bos taurus breeds, which include Senepol, Belmont Red and Bonsmara are generally African derived. That is they are Bos taurus breeds that have adapted to tropical climates in Africa for thousands of years. These breeds have then been crossed or blended with other Bos taurus breeds, and selected in tropical environments. Australian Agricultural Company (AACo), started using Senepol composite cattle in the late 1990's and saw an increase in pregnancy rates, when compared to the traditional indicus and indicus-derived herds. The list of research and trials indicating the increased fertility using a mix of these breeds, is compelling.

Pinnacle Pocket use only purebred, registered Senepol Bulls over a selection of high-fertility Droughtmaster females to produce specific herd bull genetics for clients.

Industry weight gain research of Senepol cross over Brahman

The Katherine research station, has been comparing Senepol cross  Brahman, versus straight Brahman, in their breeding herds for the past 5 years. The Senepol Brahman crosses, were over 10% heavier at weaning (23 kg), 10% heavier at 18 months  (32 kg), and had 12% more pregnancies  for 2yr matings, and had achieved 97% poll or scurred progeny in one generation.

Weaning weights

In each year, the average weaning weight of the F1 senepol cross, first round weaners were heavier than the Brahman weaners.

Pinnacle Pocket 107 - 50% Senepol, 50% Droughtmaster at 16 months.

Pinnacle Pocket 107 - 50% Senepol, 50% Droughtmaster at 16 months.

At Victoria River Research station, they were on average over three years, 23 kg heavier, and at Manbulloo the F1 Senepol crosses were an average of 19 kg heavier. The 2012 weaners from Victoria River, 176 Sen/ Brah weaners weighed 230 kg, and 193 Brahman weaners weighed 200kg, showing a difference of 15%.

Post Weaning Performance of Heifers

The senepol F1 heifers that were bred on Victoria River were on average 22.1 kg heavier at weaning and then grew another 5.1 kg more than their Brahman counterparts over the following dry season. Following the cattle through the wet season, the F1 Senepol cattle grew another 15 kg heavier than their Bos Indicus contemporary group. As a result, the F1 Senepol X heifers were 45 kg heavier at 18 to 20 months, 86 Brahman heifers weighed 281 kg, and 41 senepol cross females weighed 326 kg (>16%).

Post weaning performance of steers

The senepol F1 steers, started 25 kg heavier at weaning, and then grew slightly more over the post weaning period +7kg over the Brahman control group. As a result at the end of the post weaning year, they were on average 32 kg heavier than the Brahman steers. Fat Depth at the P8 site was measured, and the fat depths of the two steers were very similar, 3.3 mm for the senepol Brahman crosses, and 3.7 mm for the straight Brahmans, in 2010.

Pregnancy rates of 2 year heifers

The heifers were mated as two years olds, and the Senepol F1 achieved a 94% preg rate versus an 84% rate with the straight Bos Indicus.

Poll or Scurred

The majority of senepol F1 Brahman progeny, were polled or scurred. The original Brahman cows , were predominantly a Horned herd , and the resulting senepol progeny, recorded 97% poll or scurred, with 70% poll and 27% having some form of scurs in the females, in 53% and 43% respectively in the males, from 392 head.

Breeding fertile, tropically adapted, well muscled cattle that produce tender beef