Speck­les sparkle for Wan­na­mal pro­duc­ers

Countryman - - LIVESTOCK - Rueben Hale

A Speckle Park heifer has jus­ti­fied a Wan­na­mal farmer’s faith in the breed, by sell­ing for $18,000 at an Eastern States sale.

The prop­erty, Ka­ma­rah Speck­les, also sold its top bull, Ka­ma­rah Marik, for $15,000 at the Wat­tle Grove Speckle Park stud sale in Oberon, NSW, where bulls sold to a high of $22,000.

Mated and un­mated heifers were the highlight of the sale, with the top price of $28,000 paid for an 18-month-old heifer, Wat­tle Grove Heidi M43, who also had a Ka­ma­rah Speck­les con­nec­tion, be­ing born and raised at Wan­na­mal be­fore be­ing bought as an eight-month-old calf by Wat­tle Grove.

Errol and Annette Howard, who pro­duce the Speck­les on their farm and pig­gery with their son Bren­den and daugh­terin-law Ash­lee, say the breed is recog­nised for its meat-eat­ing qual­ity, higher meat yield and fast weight gain.

In WA, there are only three Speckle Park pro­duc­ers, who are all lo­cated in the Gin­gin shire.

The breed is one of only a few beef cat­tle breeds de­vel­oped in Canada.

Errol said the fam­ily had moved into breed­ing the Speck­les af­ter a rec­om­men­da­tion from a friend.

“We had al­ways been a Mur­ray Grey farm un­til a mate rec­om­mended the Speck­les af­ter vis­it­ing Wat­tle Grove,” he said.

“He wanted to put some em­bryos into our stock be­cause he didn’t have many cows of his own. The fol­low­ing year, we pur­chased em­bryos from the Wat­tle Grove our­selves.

“Wat­tle Grove sup­ply us with em­bryos from Canada, which we im­plant into our cows. In De­cem­ber, a 50/50 spilt of the weaned calves is agreed.

“The calves are then trans­ported to Oberon and then onto War­wick, Queens­land, where they are pre­pared for show­ing and the Wat­tle Grove sale.”

An em­bryo flush­ing pro­gram run at Ka­ma­rah Speck­les in 2017 has pro­duced good re­sults.

The ad­van­tage of this pro­gram al­lows quicker im­pact of ge­netic im­prove­ment.

“For the NSW sale, the bulls av­er­aged $11,433 and the fe­males $13,318. The re­sult was well be­yond our ex­pec­ta­tion go­ing into the sale. We thought we would get about $6000-$7000,” Errol said.

Photo avail­able at west­pix.com.au Pic­ture: Rueben Hale

Errol and Bren­den Howard, with Bren­den's son Fletcher, 5, at the Wan­na­mal prop­erty.

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