Rare beef breed put on block

NZ’s only braun­vieh?

South Waikato News - - NEWS - By TIM CRON­SHAW

Colin Lyon hopes some­one with the same pas­sion as him­self will take his rare Swiss breed of beef cat­tle to big­ger things.

His small herd of stud braun­vieh beef breed­ing cows, which has twice reached the semi­fi­nals of the Steak of Ori­gin con­test, was be­gun by Lyon ob­tain­ing em­bryos from an Aus­tralian stud in 2005.

Lyon, now 71, feels beef breed­ing is a ‘‘young man’s ca­per’’ and would like to pass on the ge­netic line to some­one else. The herd is for sale.

The braun­viehs at his farm near South Can­ter­bury’s Pleas­ant Point are be­lieved to be the only cat­tle of their kind in New Zealand.

"I think they might have some ge­netic fac­tors worth ex­plor­ing or that would be good for beef in New Zealand."

Cen­turies ago in Switzer­land the brown swiss was the milk­ing cow and the braun­vieh - mean­ing brown cow in Ger­man - was the beef line.

Lyon got into the breed af­ter talk­ing to a neigh­bour, who at one stage was con­sid­er­ing buy­ing a braun­vieh farm in the United States, where they are pop­u­lar for growth rates, meat mar­bling and feed­lot qual­i­ties.

In­trigued, he found em­bryos could be ob­tained in Aus­tralia and im­planted them in beef cows for his found­ing four heifers and two bulls. The blood­lines were later bol­stered by Swiss se­men.

Lyon said said most of the cat­tle had gone to­wards build­ing a herd, but braun­vieh crossed with an­gus had made tremen­dous eat­ing and had twice reached the semi­fi­nal of the Steak of Ori­gin, a com­pe­ti­tion to find the most ten­der and tasty sir­loin steak.

"They nat­u­rally have more mar­bling than some of the tra­di­tional beef groups and they are quite nice to eat."

One of them dressed out to 70 per cent car­cass weight. An­other heifer recorded a liveweight of 500 kilo­grams as a year­ling.

The herd is 16 mixed age cows, preg­nancy tested to be in calf with a braun­vieh bull; eight ris­ing two- year-old heifers and nine ris­ing one-year-old heifers as well as sev­eral breed­ing bulls.

He was un­aware of any other cat­tle farm­ers with the medi­um­sized braun­viehs.

The Press

TOP BEEF: Colin Lyon with one of his braun­vieh cows he farms near Pleas­ant Point in South Can­ter­bury.

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