‘A liquorice all­sorts’

Bel­gian blues: McUtchen fam­ily cross­breeds over a range of cat­tle breeds

Central and North Burnett Times - - NEWS - Rachael Con­aghan rachael.con­aghan@cap­news.com.au

BE­FORE stum­bling across bel­gian blue cat­tle on a fam­ily trip to Eng­land back in the 1990s, James McUtchen could not have fore­seen what a big role the breed would play in his fu­ture.

He was only 12 at the time.

Now he runs 120 breed­ers through Jam­bili Bel­gian Blues on the fam­ily’s 374-hectare prop­erty, Morn­ing Hills, in the South Bur­nett area of Win­dera.

Last week Kath, his wife, showed the first of their cat­tle in the Land­mark Stud Cat­tle Judg­ing com­pe­ti­tion at Beef 2015’s in­ter­breed com­pe­ti­tion.

The com­mer­cial and breed­ing en­ter­prise cross­breeds one blue bull over a range of breeds, in­clud­ing brah­mans, bran­gus, south devon and char­bray, in an op­er­a­tion James de­scribed as “a liquorice all­sorts” com­mer­cial prop­erty.

Theirs is one of only a few cat­tle prop­er­ties in Queens­land with bel­gian blues, a breed known for its nat­u­ral dou­ble muscling.

Kath said they liked com­ing to Beef Australia to pro­mote the breed, and brought along a heifer, two bulls and a steer this year.

“We’re not aim­ing to cre­ate a huge mar­ket for them; the bel­gian blues are more of a hobby for us,” Kath said.

“They’re un­usual, peo­ple don’t gen­er­ally see them.”

James said they’d had a lot of suc­cess cross­breed­ing their blues with brah­man cross cat­tle, and were hop­ing to sell more bulls into cen­tral Queens­land to keep this go­ing.

Morn­ing Hills also runs a 4000-unit con­tract pig­gery, but the fam­ily is hop­ing to sell the prop­erty soon.

James grew up around pigs, but hopes to buy a cat­tle block in­stead to fo­cus on their herd.

“We’ve been buy­ing and sell­ing farms for most of my life. We’ve never been in one spot for long,” James said.

“We like to buy farms, do them up, and sell them again.”


PROUD OWNER: Cal­lum McUtchen, 3, with his bel­gian blue bull, Jam­bili Kefu, from his fam­ily's stud at Win­dera.

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