THE potential for the dairy industry to use beef genetics to improve on-farm returns and provide more marketing opportunities for excess calves is continually increasing, according to industry experts.
In particular, the use of Speckle Park beef bulls within dairy systems is an ever growing concept in both Australia and New Zealand.
New Zealand’s dairy producers are driving demand of Speckle Park genetics, with up to 30,000 straws of semen being sold into the industry last year.
Maungahina Hereford, Charolais and Speckle Park stud co-principal Mark McKenzie, NZ, spoke at the Why Speckle Park field day held at Yeoval last month, indicating there had been substantial growth and demand in their country.
“When we first started with Speckle Park we sold about 200 straws into the dairy industry,” he said.
“I thought the first thing we had to do was get the right bulls in there, and that was the low birthweight bulls, so we did that.
"Then we worked on other areas, such as colour."
Over the last 12 months, Mr McKenzie said they had sold approximately 28,000 to 30,000 straws of Speckle Park semen into the industry.
“Last year we sold 20,000 straws into one company that has about 80 per cent share,” he said.
“I have supplied to LIC which has 20pc of the share.
“In total it would be about 28,000 to 30,000 straws in total sold into diary right across NZ, as well as crossbred F1 (first cross) bulls. ”
Speckle Park would be the second biggest beef breed in the dairy industry in NZ Mr McKenzie said, attributing the growth in sales to the breed doing so well.
“The calves are making, at three to 10 days old, up to $500,” he said.
“The yield, the marbling, they are early maturing over the dairy cow, and the colour marking.
"We do have to have colour marking. We have found that white bulls will colour mark looking like a straight Speckle over the dairy as well as in beef."
Mr McKenzie believes in the next few years Speckle Park will be the top beef breed used in dairy systems.
Also speaking at the field day, World Wide Sires' Tim Weller of Victoria, said there has been a rise in dairy use of beef semen and genetics within Australia.
"Until three years ago, 99pc of this would normally be Angus, Hereford and Limousin genetics, but there has been exceptional growth in Speckle Park use," he said.
"97,000 units of beef semen last year were sold to dairy farmers, around 11,000 of that was Speckle Park compared to 2015 where it wasn't even 3000 doses.
"The rise just lately has been dramatic."