MAINE AN­JOU:

Breeder brings un­usual cat­tle to be pro­moted at Beef Expo -

Warwick Daily News - South West Queensland Rural Weekly - - Front Page - ME­GAN MASTERS me­gan.masters@thechron­i­cle.com.au

KAREN Morham thinks there is a fair bit in the way of maine-an­jou ge­net­ics out there, but whether peo­ple ad­mit to it or not is another mat­ter.

Mrs Morham runs a maine-an­jou stud in Lurg, Vic­to­ria, and was up last week to spruik the breed at Beef Expo.

She said she first fell in love with the gen­tle gi­ants when her hus­band came home with a beau­ti­ful big bull to put over their black baldies.

Maines were known for their ex­cel­lent cross­ing abilities thanks to re­ces­sive genes that left prog­eny look­ing like the other half of the cross.

“If you cross them with here­fords you get a here­ford, if you cross them with an­gus you get an­gus and if you cross them with mur­ray greys you get mur­ray greys,” Mrs Morham said.

“If you cross them with Bri­tish breeds you will prob­a­bly come out with an­i­mals 150kg heav­ier than one at the same age.

It wasn’t long be­fore they made the de­ci­sion to im­port full French ge­net­ics and never looked back.

She said the breed was orig­i­nally an all-pur­pose one, and de­spite their lack of use on dairy farms these days, their ex­cel­lent milk pro­duc­tion made for good moth­er­ing abilities.

That wasn’t where the ben­e­fits ended.

“What isn’t good about them?” was the re­ply when asked about the best at­tributes of the breed.

“Their tem­per­a­ment, their yield, their low birth­weight – they’re about 35-40kg on the ground – and they take off quick.

“Their calv­ing ease, their moth­er­ing abilities, their feed ef­fi­ciency.”

She said if you had an eye for it you could find a bit of maine in many breeds, with one no­table area be­ing re­cent im­prove­ments to here­ford eye colour­ing.

She said here­fords were pre­vi­ously very prone to eye can­cers due to the white colour­ing around their eyes, but it had likely been qui­etly bred out us­ing maine-an­jou ge­net­ics thanks to their in­vis­i­ble ge­net­ics.

She said they were also in­cred­i­bly hardy, thriv­ing any­where from Al­berta, Canada at -40°C all the way through to Fin­ley in in­land Vic­to­ria, where the mer­cury could top out any­where up to 50°C.

PHOTO: CONTRIBUTED

ALL-ROUNDER: Karen Morham and hus­band Jar­rod fell in love with the maine-an­jou breed af­ter buy­ing their first bull.

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