‘A liquorice allsorts’
Belgian blues: McUtchen family crossbreeds over a range of cattle breeds
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.