With hopes of increasing the exposure of the Red Poll breed, Quirindi producers had turned to Speckle Park bulls to breed crossbred cattle.
Producers Prue and Nick Lee, Brindaree, Quirindi, thought the two breeds would compliment each other and had just weaned their first full drop of the crossbred calves after doing small trials in the last few years.
Mrs Lee said that in their crossbreeding, they selected low birthweight bulls with reasonable weight gains, easy doing ability, and ease of laying down fat.
She said they were attractive looking cattle although it was not a common cross.
"Realistically it is about being profitable and kilos per hectare and as a red poll breeder, it is about trying to lift the profile of our cattle as well," Mrs Lee said.
"The Red Poll breed is not particularly well known these days and the Speckle Park breed is increasing in popularity rapidly so that is one of the reasons that we do it.
"We think they complement each other too, we breed Red Polls that have quite a bit of carcase and they are very maternal cattle and the Speckle Parks are the same.
"It is easy to add on a heap of muscle but lose your maternal side, and we didn't want to lose the maternal strengths we had."
With two properties of roughly 400 hectares, they run their Omega 3 Red Poll stud, a commercial breeding herd, and a cattle trading sector.
Mrs Lee said the two blocks were mainly grazing country with permanent pastures established, and a small portion was used to grow summer and winter fodder crops.
She said one block was utilised to trade cattle, mainly buying in black heifers and joining them to Speckle Park bulls, while the other ran the breeding herd of 50 stud Red Poll breeders, and 100 commercial females that were also joined to Speckle Park bulls.
"In a number of ways I guess the drought, and looking after our country, and being sustainable came in to play," Mrs Lee said. "The trading enterprise is mainly so that if we get a dry period again, which we definitely will, that block can be completely destocked easily."
She said it gave extra flexibility for the land use and allowed them to look after the grass more than if it was completely a breeding operation.
In terms of the Speckle Park bulls used, Mrs Lee said she has purchased sires from Promised Land Speckle Park stud and Oakey Creek Speckle Park.
Mrs Lee said she had recently purchased sexed male Speckle Park embryos.
She said they had plans to implant the eggs soon as they would be grown out and used as sires on the farm.
"Currently it is very expensive to buy Speckle Parks, but it seemed to us that we could buy embryos and get in to good genetics but at less cost," she said.
As the Speckle Park aspect is for the commercial herd, Mrs Lee said she wanted to use the best genetics available for the best outcome which is why selecting embryos was the clear choice.
Mrs Lee said she would keep the best of the crossbred heifers as replacements where they would be joined back to Red Poll bulls.
Any of the second-tier heifers would be sold, preferably online through AuctionsPlus, she said.
Steers would be grown out and sold direct to an abattoir as fat steers, ideally targeting a grass-fed market.
Mrs Lee said she planned on breeding the Speckle Park and Red Poll calves long term.
"We don't want to jump in and out of it, we aim to be doing this in ten years time," she said.
Mrs Lee said the stud Red Poll operation was mainly focused on breeding bulls for commercial breeders.
"We aim to sell a few and basically just improve our own herd and our genetics," she said.
"We do a bit of showing too just to raise the profile of the breed, at this year's Sydney Royal we had the supreme Red Poll exhibit too with our bull (Omega 3 Sunil).
"We are just aiming to breed good cattle that are profitable, easy to run, easy to handle, fatten well, and the Speckle Park cross suits us, as well as the stud."
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