A SOUND temperament combined with rumps like the Vicar of Dibley are the key attributes that drew Nathan Nutt, Keith, South Australia, to Roseleigh Angus bulls.
Other boxes ticked were solid shape, softness and an insatiable market appetite for the all-black breed, which sealed the deal for Mr Nutt, who was raised among herds of Charolais.
Mr Nutt has bought from the Cowley family's stud for close to a decade and, in February 2019, secured the equal top-priced bull at $10,500 at its on-farm sale.
Roseleigh N43, aged 20 months and weighing 896 kilograms, measured a whopping +154 on the Angus Breeding Index for heavy grain value.
It was sired by Kansas Datalink L25 and out of Roseleigh Hettie H11.
"I thought it was a well put-together bull, I really couldn't find a fault with it," said Mr Nutt, who also bought another bull at $4000.
Roseleigh stud endeavours to breed cattle that are structurally sound with pleasing growth rate and muscling, including good butt shape, temperament and fertility.
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Tough seasons have proven that cattle with high marbling and too much minus on rib and rump fat have challenges that present physically and also affect fertility.
"This is still one of the most important economic traits to be profitable in the long term, along with easy doing cattle that show thickness and structural correctness," Mr Nutt said.
Mr Nutt currently runs 10 grown bulls mostly from Roseleigh, with top-up genetics sourced from Keringa Angus stud, Lameroo, South Australia.
He also breeds his own "on the side".
Mr Nutt said a series of dry seasons initially prompted the introduction of Angus bulls to his Charolais herd as the latter was becoming tougher to finish.
The market was hungry for the all-black breed.
Angus were hot at the time. Their popularity was soaring.
While the Angus/Charolais crosses performed well, and Mr Nutt still has 20 to 30 cows "knocking about", the market was hungry for the all-black breed.
"Angus were hot at the time," Mr Nutt said.
"Their popularity was soaring."
Starting in mid-October, Mr Nutt joins between 55 and 65 heifers over eight weeks, while on November 1, 250 cows are joined for 10 weeks.
Pregnancy testing is done late January/early February, where the aim is for 300 calves or better than 90 per cent.
The dries receive five-in-one vaccine to prevent pulpy kidney and are then grown out on a full feedlot mix of barley, lupins and hay to sell as finished cows.
Mr Nutt said fertility had been his focus since moving to the 1600 hectare Erelma, 20 kilometres west of Keith, SA, in 2014.
He said low scanning results then of about 70pc had led him to investigate further.
Firstly, the discovery of multiple trace element deficiencies prompted a shift in the brand of super spread, as well as the introduction of Multimin.
"We also switched from a five-in-one to a seven-in-one at marking and weaning to cover leptospirosis, which was another thing to rule out (that may have been affecting fertility)," Mr Nutt said.
"Cows also get a booster every year."
Mr Nutt said 95pc of his calving was wrapped up by September 30 with a "few stragglers" left.
Depending on seasonal conditions, Mr Nutt grows out a large portion of his weaners on grain to market directly to butchers, this year selling 200 head at between 550 and 600kg.
A further 150 lighter feeder steers were sent to feedlots at 420kg through the online saleyard, AuctionsPlus.
Mr Nutt said Roseleigh bred cattle with good frame size and body, "which is important as no matter how much feed you give them, you won't produce the heavier weights without those things".
"After all, we are paid in dollars per kilogram."