Historic results (2010-2019)

by twinnerc

Hamilton weaner sales January 2019

The steers were drafted by the agents into two groups, basically on size.

The top pen contained 26 head @358Kg and made 274c = $981

The second pen contained 14 head @ 273Kg and made 243c= $663

Given the range in dam age and date of calving, the top pen contained mostly singes but a few twins and the second pen the reverse, thus the ratio of 2 seconds to 1 top was 135%  and is probably an underestimate of the dollar value of twins. The agents also noted that the seasonal conditions probably reduced the value of a seconds calf more than normal.

Results from 2018 drop calves

Weaning December 2018
SexBirth typeWt (Kg)number

Overall this year, a cow  weaning twins produced 168% of the weaning weight compared with a cow with a single calf.

2017 Sales results

Steer weaners born in March and April 2016 were sold on Tuesday 17th January in Hamilton saleyards.

Half the drop averaged 376kg and made $1293 each.  These were mainly (but not exclusively) single born steers. 

Half the drop averaged 316kg and made $1030 each.  They were mainly twin born steers.

So overall they averaged $1161 each.  This compared favourably with the rest of the steers sold by the agent.

2015 Mating

Mating was from June 5th till August 9. The season has been pretty poor and cow body condition in many cases was probably less than optimal. We had 60 mixed age adults, 17 x 2013 drop (second mating) and 21 x  2014 drop (heifers), making a total of 98 potential pregnancies.


  • 33 single pregnancies = 34%
  • 45 twin pregnancies = 46%
  • 1 triplet pregnancy = 1%
  • 9 not detectably pregnant = 9%
  • 4 pregnant but number uncertain = 4%
  • 5 pregnant multiples, but foetuses possibly dying = 5%
  • 1 metritis = 1%

2014 mating

Following mating starting in June, ultrasound pregnancy scanning was carried out in August. Of 88 adult cows and 24 heifers with at least some twinning genes, 52% of the cows and 21% of the heifers were carrying twin foetuses.

2014 weaning

The calves were weighed in October at approximately 7 months of age. The single born steers weighed 298kg and the twins 237kg (80%).The single born heifers weighed 277kg and the twins 233kg (84%). A few mainly twin born males were
retained as bulls and the rest went into the regional weaner sales in January 2015. This sale group was approximately 1/3 twins and 2/3 singles and weighed 310kg and made $2.18/kg. The prices and weights were very competitive with the other local lines of cattle offered in these sales.

2013 Mating

This was a very tough time feedwise. The heifers and young cows had at least 50% twinner blood. The 15 month old heifers were the only group receiving high levels of supplementary feed and were in quite reasonable condition.

  • Of the 30 heifers mated, 27 were pregnant = 90%.
  • Of the pregnant heifers, 7 were pregnant with multiples = 26%.

The 2.5 year old heifers were in poor condition, some lactating and some not.
Of these, 23 mated, resulting with only 8 pregnant = 35%. Of the pregnant animals, 5 were pregnant wit multiples = 63%

The older cows included some with no twinner blood.
58 mated, 41 pregnant = 71%. of the pregnant ones 9 multiples = 22%

The pregnancy rates in the 2.5 year old and older cows were disappointing, but quite expected in view of the condition of the cows at mating time. Although based on very low numbers the 2.5 year old group results allow speculation to suggest that in these twinner cattle, once body condition is good enough to allow ovulation, then ovulation rate itself might not be strongly dependent on nutrition.

Weaning 2013

The first calf was born on 11/3/13 with calving over 9 weeks. The calves were weaned and weighed on 30/11/13.

  • Single born females weighed 294 kg. Twin born females weighed 234 kg
  • Single born steers weighed 300kg. Twin born steers weighed 254kg.

Thus an average cow with a single calf produced 297Kg of weaning weight, while a cow with twins produced 488 Kg ( = 164%).
The steers all went into the Hamilton weaner sales (euro section) in January 2014. At that time they averaged 298 Kg and had gained 25 kg since weaning. They made a quite competitive price of 168C.

2012 Scanning results

The cow herd was scanned in September 2012. Of the pregnancies detected:

  • Full twinners 11/15 were pregnant with twins
  • Half Twinners 15/27 were pregnant with twins
  • Normal Herd 1/19 was pregnant with twins

2011 Weaning Weights

On average at weaning (approximately eight months) the 2011 the twinner herd produced 498kg weaning weight calves per cow. In the single herd this was 282kg.

2011 Scanning results

The cow herd was scanned in August 2011. Of the pregnancies detected:

  • Full twinners 8/16 were pregnant with twins
  • Half twinners 16/24 were pregnant with twins

In the heifer herd

  • Full twinners 0/3 were pregnant with twins
  • Half twinners 3/10 were pregnant with twins

2010 Twinner Weaning Weights

On average at weaning (approximately eight months) the 2010 the twinner herd produced 565kg weaning weight calves per cow. In the single herd this was 347kg.

2010 Scanning results 2010

The cow herd was scanned in August 2010. Of the pregnancies detected:

  • Full twinners 7/9 were pregnant with twins
  • Half Twinners 3/7 were pregnant with twins
  • Normal Herd 2/27 was pregnant with twins

  The Heifer Herd was scanned in August 2010. Of the pregnancies detected:

  • Full twinners 3/4 were pregnant with twins
  • Half Twinners 8/17 were pregnant with twins

Twinning Cattle

by twinnerc

Twin producing cattle have the potential to increase productivity while reducing emissions and water use.*

  • Selection for cows with high ovulation rates was carried out over 30 years at ¬†Meat Animal Research Center (MARC) in¬†Nebraska. The cows originated from a large cross breeding and selection program which has resulted in a herd comprising about 12 breeds.
  • The actual genes involved in twinning have not yet been fully identified but it seems clear that several genes are involved. It is thought that Chromosome 5 influences ovulation rate however there are several genes that influence the twinning inheritence that have not yet been pinpointed.
  • Evaluations of growth and carcass compositions after backgrounding and finishing have shown that the MARC single born females were 24kg heavier at 5 months and 18kg heavier at 22 months. Twin born steers were only slightly lighter than their single born mates, but had higher grading scores.
  • Where the twins are male and female, more than 95% of the females will be freemartins. This is due to the male developing faster than the female in the uterus, and, since calves share placentas, male hormones passing into the female calf prevent proper growth of the reproductive tract. It is important to identify freemartins which can then be treated like steers and sold accordingly. Freemartins have higher marbling scores than other females.
  • Freemartin heifers are good meat animals because they have very satisfactory marbling and carcase traits.
  • Freemartinism¬†does NOT reduce the number of heifers available for breeding compared to a herd of single bearing cows.

* For academic and mainstream articles supporting these statements, see news.