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CLIENT NEWS: Speckle Park on trend for dairy farmers

CRV Ambreed has seen a surge in Speckle Park sales this year with sales for the breed now CRV Ambreed’s second biggest selling beef breed after Hereford.

Once classified as a specialty beef breed, it’s now a popular choice for many farmers.

This months’ figures show sales for Speckle Park are up 50% compared to the same time last year.

Speckle Park was first crossed in the 1950s in Canada using British White Park, shorthorn and Angus cattle, which give them distinct colour patterns.

They are a polled, medium frame animal with impressive weight gains by 18 months. Mature cows typically weigh up to 850kg and bulls can reach over 1000kg.

CRV Ambreed National Sales Operations Manager Rosanna Dickson says the company carefully selected bulls, which offer traits that are well-suited for use in dairy herds. 

The bulls are the White and Leopard varieties, which provide better colour markers for farmers and make them easy to recognise in the herd.

“The bulls offer moderate birthweights, easy calving, and high growth rates,” Dickson explains. 

“Our clients are loving this breed because the calves have good vigour, are easy to rear, and adapt well to any environment,” she says.

The return on investment for farmers is very good. A straw of Speckle Park semen from CRV Ambreed will cost around $20 and a four-day-old calf currently fetches $300-400.

“Some farmers select the breed for lifestyle reasons, but most are looking at ways to add value to their business at the end of mating.

“Overall, we have seen a 6.5% jump in beef sales this year which speaks volumes about farmers wanting to ensure every mating results in a saleable calf,” she adds.

CRV Ambreed’s biggest selling beef breeds in 2018 are Hereford, Speckle Park, Angus, Charolais and Murray Grey.  The company also offers other specialty beef breeds including Belgian Blue, Belted Galloway, Dexter, Limousin, Lowline, Red Devon, Scottish Highland, Simmental and Wagyu.

Robbie Clark of Parkvale Speckle Park in Culverden supplies Speckle Park bulls to CRV Ambreed. 

He first started breeding Speckle Park bulls 10 years ago and has supplied semen to the dairy industry for the past seven years.

Clark believes Speckle Park is emerging as a more mainstream beef breed and there is “massive potential” for it to continue growing as New Zealand’s dairy beef market grows.

“One of my bulls, Kiwi, has already produced over 7,000 straws for CRV Ambreed this year to keep up with market demand,” says Clark.

“Speckle Park is already a major player in Australia and now farmers here in New Zealand are catching on to it. The quality of the meat is a big factor – it’s sensational – and they yield very well, in some cases over 60%,” he says.

“This shows that there is a market outside of bobby calves.  Rearing Speckle Parks is adding value for dairy farmers, and providing a better return to the farmer.  It’s a win-win.”

PICTURED ABOVE:  Speckled Park "Kiwi" - an in demand bull