WITH a quality line-up of engaging speakers at the Why Speckle Park field day, breed enthusiasts from Victoria, south east Queensland and even New Zealand made their way to Yeoval last Friday to hear an array of breed stories from across the supply chain.
Among the crowd of nearly 100 participants was NZ beef producers Martin and Sarah Forsyth from Clevedon near Auckland, who made the last minute trip to the event hosted by JAD Speckle Parks.
Despite not needing to be convinced on ‘why speckle park’, the Forsyths said they were really intrigued by the line-up of speakers when they first heard about the event, that gave insight into perspectives ranging from the paddock to the butcher.
“The presenters and the topics sounded really interesting so it was on our radar, but it wasn’t till Tuesday that Martin came home and said ‘have you booked the tickets yet?’,” Ms Forsyth said.
“Two days later we are here, catching up with friends and meeting new fellow breeders.”
Over their approximate 101 hectare aggregation, the Forsyths originally stumbled across the breed and quickly became interested in its potential.
“We bought semen in 2011 from Mark McKenzie from Maungahina stud, and our first Speckle bulls in 2014 to put them over our Angus and Angus cross cows,” Ms Forsyth said.
“We are running about 60 cows, commercial and now stud pure bred Speckle Parks.”
Kicking off their Pine Hill Speckle Park stud in 2012, the Fosyths said the type, structure and in particular the survivability of the Speckle Park breed is what has kept them interested in continuing to establish their own herd.
“They do so well,” Ms Forsyth said. “We have loved what they have done for us so want to continue to expand.”
“We bought embryos from Maungahina, and also in 2018 we purchased two pure bred yearling heifers from their sale for $24,000 and $25,000 – two record prices for New Zealand.”
“We are very impressed with our spring-born ET (embryo transfer) calves and the ones that have just hit the ground.”
The Forsyths said it had been rather hot in their region over the past few weeks they were calving, but that did not stop the calves.
“It was unexpectedly hot recently when we were calving and the cows took a bit of a hit, so we pulled a few (calves) with the vet,” they said.
“To the vets surprise though, within minutes the calves were up suckling which is what we really have not seen in any other breed.
“It is what a lot of people have spoken about today – survivability. They want to get up and go.”
The Speckle Park cattle in Australia are very similar to those in New Zealand according to the Forsyths who said they are all easy care cattle.
“Australia and New Zealand really have shared breeding, so the cattle here are much the same,” Ms Forsyth said.
“We are really impressed they are doing so well considering the conditions over here. It shows they really are easy care, good doing animals.”
Previously the Forsyths have purchased semen from Amy and Justin Dickens of JAD Speckle Parks, in the Minnamurra Marlin M4 bull the Dickens bought for $30,000 from Minnamurra’s third annual Speckle Park sale last year.
Being on a small scale of operations, the Forsyths said it has been crucial for them to focus on good genetics to get the foundation right.
“We have invested in quality genetics. It is important to get the base right and have the bloodlines and type of cattle we want,” they said.
“Having the foundation right means we could look at any market option for the future.
“There is even scope to do mail order meat from our own grass-fed paddock-to-plate operation, and event looking at up-scaling.”
The Forsyths said there are a lot of decisions ahead but they both equally love the breed and are extremely passionate, so look forward to the future.
- More stories from the Why Speckle Park field day to come.