MEMBERS of the Fleckvieh breed are taking the opportunity to showcase their cattle as much as possible at the Royal Canberra Show.
On top of the show – which has almost 80 entries – and a multi-vendor Fleckvieh sale, members will be holding several milking demonstrations throughout the day.
Stud breeder George Cassar, Karova Fleckvieh, said the event was a great opportunity to showcase the breed’s use in beef and dairy operations.
Thomas Grupp, general manager of German genetics company Bayern Genetik, is the Fleckvieh judge for the show.
“He’s one of the largest Fleckvieh breeders in the world, and he’s one of the people promoting Fleckvieh cattle as a universal breed, and suitable for crossbreeding operations, in both dairy and beef herds,” Mr Cassar said.
“A little known fact is that Fleckvieh is the second most milked breed in the world behind Holstein. Currently, the oldest milk recorded cow in Germany is a Fleckvieh cow. She is 23 years of age, and has produced more than 140,000 kilograms of milk – that’s over three B-double tankers.”
Mr Cassar said another benefit of Fleckvieh in the dairy industry was the extra income generated from the sale of excess bull calves.
“Some farmers using Fleckvieh over their dairy cows in Victoria are getting over $250 a head for the Fleckvieh-cross calves at one week of age while their dairy bull calves make an average of $10 to $65.”
Weighing up the benefits for weaners
THE strong early growth of the Fleckvieh breed is paying off for weaner producers.
At the first store sale at Mortlake last week, Victorian stud and commercial producer Don Mathieson, Brenair Park Fleckvieh and Simmentals, Drysdale, sold the top weaners on a cents per kilogram basis, with his purebred Fleckvieh steers reaching 307c/kg.
The 25 seven to eight-month-old steers weighed an average of 349 kilograms, returning $1071 a head.
Another pen of 18 Fleckvieh steers from Mr Mathieson sold for 304c/kg.
The eight to 11-month-old steers averaged 392kg, returning $1191.
Mr Mathieson, who has been breeding Fleckvieh cattle since the late 1980s, was pleased with the weights considering the tough season.
“It’s been the worst season since 2000, so we had to supplement them with oaten hay prior to the sale,” he said.
“The calves never get any grain, just oaten hay to keep them growing.”
Mr Mathieson said the breed’s exceptional early growth made Fleckvieh cattle suitable for weaner production.
“I’ve got a 10-month-old bull that weighs more than 600kg and a 19-month-old that’s over 1000kg – the growth is phenomenal,” he said.
“I’ve got Angus and Angus-cross cattle, and they’re averaging about $200 less than the Fleckvieh calves, and that’s just based on weight.”