‘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.”

PHOTO: TONI SOMES

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

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