AFTER selling the family’s Friesian stud in 2007, South East producer Rob Spehr was keen to find a breed of cattle to further boost hybrid vigour within his herd, while also increasing the meat’s marketing value.
That’s when he came across the Speckle Park breed – a White Park, Teeswater Shorthorn and Angus cross introduced into Australia in 2007.
“We has been breeding Angus-Limo calves, but we weren’t getting the returns for them anymore,” he said.
“We also got sick of sending them straight to the meatworks and not being able to follow the process through.
“I had seen Speckle Park meat standout at the butchers for its high marbling, so I did a little more research.”
Mr Spehr was attracted to the breed’s high yielding meat traits, temperament and appearance, which often featured a black and white roan colouring.
With partner Teresa Paltridge, Mr Spehr runs a 400-breeder herd and up to 500 composite sheep on 365 hectares at Allendale East.
The herd is mainly Limousin based, with some Angus cows, with Limousin, Angus and Lim-Flex bulls used.
In the past year, Mr Spehr bought four purebred Speckle Park bulls and five heifers from sales in NSW.
He also bought six Angus-Speckle F1s, with mostly Angus calves at-foot, at Pakenham, Vic, in September.
The calves were weaned, with the females kept and mated back to Speckle Park bulls, while the steers are being grown out to bullocks.
“I plan to market the bullocks to local butchers,” Mr Spehr said. “We want to see where the meat we produce goes and see how well the Speckle meat sells locally.”
Mr Spehr also bought 20 embryos from Fish Creek Farm, Vic, which were placed in the commercial herd, while Fish Creek semen was used to AI about 40 Lim-Flex heifers.
The F1s and 40 heifers will calve in the next month, while the embryos are due in December.
All females will be kept and the purebred males will become bulls, while the F1 steers will be grown out for meat.
“We hope to achieve extra marbling by putting a Speckle bull over our F1 females,” he said.