Speckle Park cattle offer more than just paddock cuteness
Speckle Park is a fast-growing breed of cattle that not only looks good, but is helping dairy farmers meet demand for a high-quality dairy beef cross product.
CRV Product Development Manager Oceania Peter van Elzakker says one key attraction of the breed for dairy farmers is the suitability of Speckle Park for use across all breeds, with the colour mark holding well with Friesian, Ayrshire, Jersey and cross breeds.
“The colour marking makes the animals easy to identify and reduces the chance of them ending up on the dairy platform. The breed is also naturally polled, which is another popular trait.
“The Speckle Park offers dairy farmers an attractive solution for their business, delivering a calf that is in high demand as well as providing a good return.”
CRV Ambreed works with Parkvale Stud in Culverden, North Canterbury, to source Speckle Park genetics. It is the oldest registered Speckle Park stud in the South Island. The stud’s sire Parkvale Mark is marketed in CRV’s 2020 catalogue.
“The Speckle Park doesn’t just offer paddock cuteness - there is good value in the meat,” says Parkvale owner Robbie Clark.
“Feedlot results from Australia over five years suggest Speckle Park is beating other common dairy cross breeds for providing a consistently good yield, and natural well-marbled tender meat. Their dressing out percentage ensures profitability and this is replicated in grass fed meat in New Zealand.”
Speckle Park animals are now all registered on genetic evaluation system, Breedplan, which appeals to farmers looking for data to give them confidence in their sire selection.
Farmers are looking for consistent carcass results from dairy cross breeds and with Speckle Park there is an even, steady growth in the calves, rather than start-stop growth spurts.
Speckle Park Cross calves tend to be moderate in birth weight, combined with a strong vigorous calf that is easy to rear. “We often hear from farmers that they are great drinkers from the start and are very easy to handle,” says Clark.
Clark has had reports that at some livestock sales Speckle Parks are receiving a good premium. He says demand at sales is coming from both rearers and lifestyle block owners. He believes lifestylers appreciate the breed’s easy nature, while rearers can be confident of a quality product at finishing.
“We’re in it for the long haul with this breed,” says Clark. “We have supplied our Speckle Park semen to the dairy industry for over eight years, with the last four years seeing significant ongoing growth in demand.”
Opunake dairy farmers Simon and Amanda Drought have been using a mix of Hereford and Speckle Park for the past three years. Amanda really enjoys rearing them, calves ooze personality and are always ready for a scratch.
“It’s a sad day when we are ready to sell them. This year we are taking them to 100kg rather than selling them at four days. It’s a surprise when we weigh them, because they get to 100kg faster than you expect.”
Parkvale Stud’s bulls are sent to Xcell Breeding and Veterinary Services Ltd in Woodend for semen collection. Clark says Parkvale Mark spends more time at collection than he does at the home farm, but he knows he is being well looked after.
“We use Xcell to collect all our bulls and Parkvale Mark always returns to us in fantastic condition. We also have access to the latest AB technology, such as Embryo Transfer, which helps fast track the gains from our purebred females.
“We enjoy the feedback we get about Speckle Park from farmers at events like the South Island field days. It’s great to see interest in the breed and hear stories confirming the valuable part Speckle Park genetics play in South Island dairy herds.”