A Bred Herd, Not A Fed Herd
It is over 40 years since we imported the first females from Canada with the ambition to and the foresight that, to survive in the business as cattle breeders we would have to breed a type of animal that would come within striking distance of the continental type cattle. An animal suitable as a terminal sire was called for. It would be big, generation after generation (not just for one or two generations) with great length, cleanness and good wide muscled tops. Our aim was to be innovative and quality cattle breeders. A line breeding programme of pedigree Angus cattle is pursued, as only line breeding provides consistent ongoing prepotency – an outcross animal (hybrid vigour) makes for an outstanding animal in the present time but makes little contribution after the second generation.
The result is a wonderful trade in bulls with one customer buying 25 bulls, another has had fourteen bulls (and never been to Nightingale). Many more customers have had 2, 3 ,4, 5 & 6 bulls. The predominant reason why so many customers are happy with our bulls is that they are equal to or outperform other breeds. As cattle breeders we sell 20 to 30 bulls a year, mostly at 12-15 months into suckler, dairy and pedigree herds.
Our herd of pedigree Angus cattle has been bred from 23 different female bloodlines. Whether buying bulls or females in Canada, we conduct extensive research into their pedigrees and available statistical information to ensure that our purchases are not reliant or influenced by price or prizes. Herd management for our pedigree Angus cattle at Nightingale is non labour intensive and as simplistic as possible. The cattle need to develop naturally and the belief is that cattle must be good and good cattle must be functional. All our efforts are directed at breeding an efficient and profitable animal for the farmer and to develop a carcass that will produce the finest quality eating meat for the consumer. To this end we concentrate on depth of muscle on a large frame and structured soundness while maintaining fertility and calving ease. We aim at a type that has length, cleanness through the lower part of the body producing a higher ratio of red meat to waste. The females are feminine, upheaded beefy, structurally correct and with good udders. For 40 years Nightingale females calved at two years old and are fed only grass and silage.
Ultimately – Form Follows Function
The pedigree Angus cattle herd is now closed except for a particular female or bull that may be necessary. Our main aim and direction is to line breed to produce a pure animal that is dependable and predictable which will be easier to merchandise with evaluated facts and not anticipation. Today, much emphasis is placed on official records and we are proud of our achievements – without abandoning our belief