Demand for Speckle Park genetics continues to rise, with the breed recording the fastest growth of all registered cattle across Australia and New Zealand during the past five years.
From 2015 to the end of 2019, the Speckle Park breed society, Speckle Park International (SPI) has experienced a 33 per cent growth in annual memberships, and now has nearly 13,000 stud animals registered in Australia and NZ.
According to new SPI chairman Wayne Munt, the growth in both Speckle Park cattle numbers and breed society membership has been huge.
"Coming off a small base of numbers, the rapid growth has taken everyone by surprise," Mr Munt said.
"Speckle Parks are renowned for their carcase and eating quality attributes and this is being recognised by commercial cattle producers in both the beef and dairy industries."
The breed was developed in Canada, and introduced to Australia and New Zealand in 2007.
He said current marketing efforts were focused on encouraging producers to use Speckle Parks as a terminal cross, joined to British breeds such as Angus or Poll Herefords.
"We are also finding some of the biggest sales of Speckle Parks are going into Queensland where they are using them over Bos Indicus cows.
"Using Speckle Park bulls in any crossbreeding program will increase hybrid vigour, meat yield, marbling and eating quality in terms of both softness and texture."
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The Speckle Park product is also attracting attention from top restaurants and chefs throughout Australia due to its high eating quality.
Mr Munt said while the breed was building numbers it had been difficult to guarantee a consistent supply.
"As numbers increase, in both pure and F1 cattle, we will be looking at supplying quality Speckle Park meat products to the restaurant and butcher trade."
To improve the genetic diversity of Speckle Parks, breeders have accessed bloodlines from Canada, but Mr Munt said demand was now in reverse, with an increase in semen exports from Australia.
"The momentum and interest in the breed is building throughout the world.
"There is an Irish Speckle Park Association and one in the United Kingdom and we are now exporting semen back to the US and Canada, while genetics are going into South America as well."
In response to the breed's increased popularity, Speckle Park International has also had a major overhaul.
"The new board has been in place for nearly two years and during that time we have re-written the constitution, appointed an auditor, and in consultation with members developed a strategic plan," Mr Munt said.
The organisation has also formed marketing, technical and youth sub-committees to provide additional promotion, support and research for people entering the breed.
"Speckle Park International currently has 258 full and life memberships, which is an increase of 18 from 2019 numbers, while commercial members total 31."
Junior breed membership has also increased significantly and plans are underway to offer several youth scholarships, with study trips to Canada and New Zealand available.
- Details: For more information visit specklepark.org