Rare breed

Award re­wards farm­ers’ pas­sion

Albany Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE -

A pas­sion for a rare breed of red cat­tle has paid div­i­dends for Al­bany’s Alis­ter and Doreen Lyon.

The Lyons have been breed­ing Poll Sus­sex, reg­is­tered as a rare breed in Aus­tralia, at their Wil­lyung Poll Sus­sex Stud since 1972.

Mr Lyon said he was sur­prised but very happy to win this year’s Har­vey Beef Gate 2 Plate Chal­lenge at a pre­sen­ta­tion in Denmark on Fri­day .

“It cer­tainly gives the Sus­sex breed a bit of a boost; they are a won­der­ful an­i­mal for cross­breed­ing,” he said. “We have got a stud and we don’t like get­ting rid of our best an­i­mals to go to the butcher.

“I knew our heifer had done well in the com­pe­ti­tion, and I thought the steers were go­ing to let her down, but ap­par­ently they didn’t.”

The chal­lenge, in its third year, im­i­tates the com­mer­cial sit­u­a­tion of cat­tle en­ter­ing the Meat Stan­dards Aus­tralia-graded do­mes­tic grain-fed sup­ply chain.

Com­peti­tors en­ter a team of three owner-bred cat­tle, two steers and a heifer, which are placed into an Al­bany feed­lot on the same day and fed the same ra­tion.

Heifers are fed for 76 days and steers 88 days, with points al­lo­cated across a range of fields to de­ter­mine cat­e­gory win­ners.

Data is col­lected on in­di­vid­ual per­for­mance, in­clud­ing growth rate, car­case weight and eat­ing quality in­for­ma­tion.

The Lyons were named win­ners at a gala din­ner at Denmark’s South­ern End Restau­rant.

The pair took on the 320ha farm in the early 1970s, with 150 breed­ers at its peak and a cur­rent av­er­age of 80 breed­ers.

Mr Lyon at­trib­uted his pas­sion for the breed to its easy calv­ing at­tributes and car­case qual­i­ties.

“One of the big things is how quiet they are. They also have a top-quality car­case,” he said.

When se­lect­ing bulls, the Lyons sourced top ge­net­ics from around the world and have pre­vi­ously im­ported em­bryos from South Africa and se­men from the UK.

Progeny from their Wil­lyung stud have been used as the ba­sis for a stud in Vic­to­ria and have been sent to Africa and New Zealand.

Picture: Cally Dupe

Doreen and Alis­ter Lyon, of Wil­lyung Poll Sus­sex Stud, with the Har­vey Beef Gate 2 Plate Chal­lenge tro­phy.

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