The complete Red Rock Limousin stud dispersal on property at Yarrowitch, via Walcha on April 14, will provide buyers with a rare chance to bring breeders from this line into their own livestock systems.
“I’ve never sold a stud female despite being asked many times,” said operation principal Jeff Ethridge, who with his wife Kerrie plans on stepping back from livestock genetics to watch grandchildren grow and to visit family at the far ends of the earth.
Thirty years of work with perhaps three one-week holidays in that time have taken a toll, although you wouldn’t notice, and the Ethridges are looking forward to their new chapter, which includes a block of land at Scotts Head and a desire by daughters to meet up as one, by the sea.
This is not the first time Jeff and Kerrie have been through a complete dispersal. The last one was with poll Hereford in 1995, with 300 lots selling to a top of $18,000.
This line-up of mostly poll Limousin includes 80 three-in-in-one cows, tested in calf to stud sires, with calves by the three stud bulls – Flemington Joker, the sire which topped the Limousin National at Wodonga in 2015, Mandayen Mr Jock 10 and Flemington Kraker K50.
It also includes 20 cows tested in calf, 30 freshly calved heifers, 30 joined heifers, 30 unjoined heifers, the stud sires and three junior bulls.
The 30 heifers have just started calving now with most expected on the ground by sale day.
“I’d say their direction is more toward moderate frame compared to what I have bred in the past,” said Mr Etheridge. “They offer a depth and a different pedigree and their genetics have blended well with my own, which includes female bloodline going back to Red Rock Zucchero and Red Rock Tiger.
“I have bred slightly away from the pure French to offer a more refined animal, not as heavily muscled. They are easier to fatten, longer in the neck. And I continue to target the polled gene,” he said. There have been a number of polled Limousin sires in Red Rock since it came to Yarrowitch six years ago, including another reference sire Stevens Profit.
“Yes, I could always go further with these lines but that’s now a job for somebody else,” said Jeff. “The new buyer might swing them back and put pure Limousin over them if they want more muscle or they could go my way. That’s part of the strength of this herd. But it’s up to someone else to use those females and join them the way they want to go.”
Mr Etheridge said he was particularly proud of the fact that his female line showed excellent mothering ability, with lots of milkiness.
“That was my chief breeding objective even back when I was breeding pol Hereford,” he said. “We prided ourselves on producing cows that can rear their calves well. That’s the same thing with these Limousin.”
A tantalising taste of the world came to Jeff and Kerrie when Gemma played rugby in the Rio Olympics, and now that their eldest daughter, a doctor in Melbourne, has married a man from Chile, they are keen to explore further afield. The dispersal will allow them to do that, although they will retain a second property at Yarrowitch and use it to fatten trade cattle.
With the recent rain in the Walcha region after a very trying summer it is likely that the Red Rock Limousin cattle will look the best they have been in the six years the Etheridge family have been living at Yarrowitch.