BEEF producers looking to boost growth and carcase quality have plenty of opportunity to improve herd genetics with the biggest lineup of Speckle Park genetics in the breed's history.
The fourth annual invitational Speckle Park sale at Scone on April 27 will feature more than 140 lots, including stud bulls and females, first-cross females and genetic packages.
The multi-vendor sale features cattle from 21 studs based in NSW and Victoria, including new studs that were previous purchasers at the same sale, as well as two New Zealand studs.
In the catalogue are 64 bulls, 55 stud heifers, 14 semen packages and eight embryo lots, along with the commercial first-cross females.
It's the largest multi-vendor offering in the world for the Speckle Breed now, reflecting the growth in the breed.
Demand for Speckle Park genetics is constantly increasing, and last year's Scone sale soared to record highs, setting a national breed record of $32,000 for a female and reaching $26,000 in the bulls.
The 63 bulls averaged $6817, 49 stud females averaged $8959, 39 first-cross females averaged $1725 and six show steers sold for an average of $1224.
Organisers are hoping for another oustanding sale, as demand for quality Speckle Park genetics grows.
The Scone sale, which is interfaced with Elite Livestock Auctions, follows a strong showing at Sydney Royal Easter Show, where 69 Speckle Park animals were exhibited.
Sale committee member Mark Constable said this year's line up represented some of the best genetics available in the breed.
"This is the biggest event for the Speckle Park breed in the world, and the biggest line up of purebred Speckle Park cattle in the world.
"We're getting more and more larger producers trialling the Speckle Park bulls in crossbreeding operations, and a lot of people have tried one bull and now they're making Speckle Park part of their business. They're proven on the hoof and hook and Speckle Park bulls can be used over any breed."
The weekend will also feature a dinner on the Friday night, which will include a charity auction, with money going to Where there's a Will and the National Breast Cancer Foundation.
The future of the Speckle Park breed
MORE than 50 young beef enthusiasts will have the chance to learn about the Speckle Park breed and the wider industry by taking part in the Kelly's Finance Group Scone Speckle Youth Show and Steer Showcase next month.
The event runs from April 25 to April 27 last year's successful inaugural youth camp which included 40 participants.
Youth show coordinator Kelly Steele said the three days of education and competition would include a Stock Show University clinic, junior judging and parader demonstrations, and workshops on beef selection.
"We've got 52 kids coming, from Queensland, NSW, Victoria, South Australia, and we even have a girl coming over from New Zealand," Ms Steele said.
"It's a way of giving them insight into the industry, and we're also trying to work together to get a youth group going in the breed, because we've got some amazing young members that are doing great things with Speckle Park cattle."
Among the workshop speakers are Kempsey High School teacher Gavin Saul; Graham Hoff, who will teach the participants about structural soundness; local young parader and Hereford stud breeder Jessica Grosser; and Monique Estrada, Target Livestock and Marketing, who will teaching youth camp participants about the basics of animal health and husbandry, including ear tagging and drenching.
"The workshops cover all the basics, from the farm to preparing for the show ring with Show Stock University," Ms Steele said.
Following the workshops will be junior judging and parading competitions, judged by Tim Bayliss, livestock sales manager, Ray White Rural Dorrigo.
The youth camp will end on the morning on April 18, with the steer showcase being held prior to the Speckle Park Scone sale, which begins at with the first-cross females at 10.30am, followed by stud bulls and females at 12pm.
"We actually had a couple of people who attended the show last year and ended up purchasing heifers and steers from the show," Ms Steele said.
"There are a lot of opportunities in the Speckle Park breed.
"They're doing really well in the show ring - they're proven in the ring and hanging up on the hook."
Speckle Park studs go head to head for inaugural calf futurity
STUD breeders will be able to evaluate their breeding decisions with a new event designed to increase participation in the Speckle Park sale weekend at Scone.
For the first time, the Speckle Park Calf Futurity will be held, with calves from nominated bulls and dams eligible to compete.
Futurity coordinator Tania Paget, Pinnacle Park Speckles, said it was an idea taken from the horse industry, but adjusted to suit cattle.
"The bulls and dams are nominated at the start of the joining season, so it's pre-entered in the competition before birth," Mrs Paget said.
"We'll have a calf class at Scone, with the entry money to be split between the top five placegetters.
"With this first year, it's just weaner calves (2018-drop), and next year we'll have weaners and yearlings, then we'll end up with two-year-olds and three-year-olds."
Despite the drought, 20 calves have been entered between the two classes for heifers and bulls.
Mrs Paget said three judges would score each animal out of 100, based on structure, movement, feet and legs, commercial and stud viability, reproductive structure.
"With a stud's normal show program, they go out and pick their top animals for a show team, but with this competition they've got to think about the breeding program and envision what calves will be their top animals," Mrs Paget said.
Judging the calf futurity will be Alistair Rayner, principal of RaynerAg, Tamworth, and Andrew and Brooke Rayner, from Grathlyn Poll Herefords, Mudgee.