Herefords Australia has launched a new Super Sires program enabling stud and commercial breeders to use leading whiteface genetics into their herds.
Members will have access to competitively priced semen from trait-leading sires.
Marbling is the initial focus with the first sire to be offered, Wirruna Matty M288, bred by Ian and Diane Locke, Holbrook, NSW.
The polled son of Allendale Anzac E114 is in the top one per cent of Breedplan recorded bulls in the breed for marbling and was top of its contemporary group, but also in top 1pc for carcase weight, docility and the supermarket, grassfed, grainfed and EU indexes.
Herefords Australia director and marketing and development committee chairman Geoff Birchnell says there are significant opportunities to be generated by increasing intramuscular fat in the breed.
“He (Matty) offers breeders a well-balanced, high performance opportunity to achieve rapid genetic gain,’’ he said.
Mr Birchnell says Herefords Australia recognises the significant opportunities generated by increasing IMF in the breed.
“When you look at where all the grass and short fed grain brands sit there is saturation around the marble score zero specifications,” he said.
“If we collectively focus our breed to consistently produce meat with marble scores above two, the future of Hereford cattle looks exciting.
“The grass fed market when coupled with high marbling offers tremendous opportunity for Herefords to regain the mantle of the prominent breed in Australia.’’
Further expansion of the project is already planned with the identification of other elite Hereford bulls that will bring rapid genetic gain to commercial breeding programs.
“We are talking to commercial breeders out in the industry – we are designing them a solution to their problems, and that solution is Hereford genetics,’’ Mr Birchnell said.
Herefords Australia general manager Andrew Donoghue stressed the Super Sire program was not about single trait selection and any bull used would still possess balanced and desirable genetics for other traits.
“As an example, Wirruna Matty sired 23 calves born to registered heifers at Wirruna this spring - the calves had an average birthweight of 33.5 kilograms,” he said.
Included in the cost of the semen is a unique Hereford True Genetics ear tag which identifies livestock to potential purchasers as genetically high performing.