About Red Oak Angus Stud...
The Red Oak Brand or Stud name has been involved with studstock for nearly 90 years. Firstly with pedigree Jersey’s which my grandfather set up following the W W I. He also had a passion for thoroughbred horses in which he bred and raced successfully till the mid 60’s. My father Ross continued the jersey stud and it was one of the top producing herds in the Waikato when it was dispersed in the early 70’s. the family branched into business for a few years but in the early 80’s a simmental cattle stud was founded and was run through the 90’s by my brother Jon. After completing a dip.agr at Lincoln and working on hill country properties in both North and South Islands during the 80’s, our family purchased a steep hill country farm in the Mangamahu Valley north of Wanganui in 1989. Shortly after the Red Oak Romney stud was founded initially to supply rams for our own 6500 Romney ewes but as our performance results took off so did ram sales around the central North Island area.
On the Mangamahu property with a beef cow herd of around 500 cows plus 100 heifers to the bull the Red Oak Angus Stud was started in 2000 when I felt some of the imported genetics were not suited to steep Wanganui hill country conditions. We purchased foundation cows with as much old NZ Bloodlines as possible. As a stud breeder I did not take over the fathers long established Romney or Angus Stud. We started from scratch with definite commercial based objectives of producing as much meat and wool / ha. at the lowest possible cost. In 2001 the family sold its 2 North Island properties to enable my 2 brothers and I to disperse and do our own thing. Debra and I retained the best 9000s.u from Mangamahu including both studs transporting them south to the Weka Pass.
As with the Romney Stud we apply the same philosophies of low cost high output to our Angus stud. Our 300 stud cows run alongside around 400 commercial cows and are instrumental in maintaining pasture quality at Red Oak during favourable conditions in the Spring or Autumn a good pasture growth explosion can occur resulting in large quantities of dead poorer type grasses left to be controlled by cows rearing calves through the dry summer months. Calving starts around the start of August through to the end of September and we expect our cows to clean up rank grass, getting in calf again and weaning a top calf usually mid March. We aim to breed sound moderate frame size cattle with barrel and constitution focusing on maternal traits of reproduction, milking ability, quiet temperament and longevity. Heifers are mated as yearlings calving as 2 year olds and we still have cows performing well in the herd at 14 or 15 year olds. Only sires which have been bred and performed under NZ hill country conditions are used at Red Oak. No imported semen will be used in the stud.
With regard to genetics we advocate a balanced approached using Estimated Breeding Values as a guide depending on accuracies combined with actual figures and common sense stockmanship. Most recorded traits like growth, scrotal size, temperament, milking ability, carcass conformation and structural soundness are plainly obvious to discerning cattlemen. Over the last 3 years we have averaged just on 100% calving in both studs and commercial cows (cows scanned in calf to calf marking). Generally we get about 3-4% cows having twins. Our dry rate at scanning is between 3-8% depending on the seasons.