Nyngan producers switch to Speckle Parks with success

Jack Carter with daughter Emily Stanton, Innaminna, Nyngan, and their purebred Canadian embryo calves on their recipient mothers.
Jack Carter with daughter Emily Stanton, Innaminna, Nyngan, and their purebred Canadian embryo calves on their recipient mothers.

THE willingness of calves to get up and go, colour markings, added milk production in females and ability to stand up to pinkeye outbreaks has been a huge draw card for the Carter family who have made the move into Speckle Parks.

Jack and Dione Carter, along with their daughters operate a mixed farming enterprise on their 20,000 hectare property Innaminna close to Nyngan.

"We run about 22,000 Australian White ewes, and currently have 700 head of breeding cattle that consists of two-thirds F1 females and a few F2 females, and the rest are Angus," Mr Carter said. "We also have 6000 hectares of dryland cropping and opportunity feedlot."

Since introducing Speckle Park genetics, Mr Carter quickly noticed their ability to stand up to pinkeye.

"Pinkeye is a big one for us. We have tried Pilliguard and our strain of Pinkeye is apparently different to others so it is hard to treat," he said.

"We had 30 Angus cows that we joined to Charolais bulls, and every single one of them had pinkeye - it has been horrendous.

The Carters have expanded beyond the commercial herd, and now have Outwest Speckle Parks. Photos: Rach Webb

The Carters have expanded beyond the commercial herd, and now have Outwest Speckle Parks. Photos: Rach Webb

"As a percentage in our Speckles I would say we had about 10 to 15 per cent that we have had to treat, and they seem to recover quite quickly when you do treat them."

Mr Carter said they first got into the Speckle Park breed in 2016 when his eldest daughter and her husband bought five pregnant first-cross females.

"They had been researching the breed for some time and wanted something different to the black Angus," he said.

"Despite some saying colour doesn't matter, it does to us as we have about 30 neighbours running a lot of different breeds of cattle.

"We have 20 kilometres of creek that is a boundary for us, so that is another reason the different coloured animal is good for us."

Mr Carter was quickly impressed by the cattle.

"When we first bought them the season wasn't too bad but it cut out quickly, and it has been dry ever since," he said.

They have completed two embryo transfer programs, implanting 100 embryos of Canadian genetics.

They have completed two embryo transfer programs, implanting 100 embryos of Canadian genetics.

"We could soon see that the cattle, especially the better bred Speckles, were going to perform in our environment, and they were starting to stand out in the dry conditions alongside some of the Angus."

Market options prove a major benefit for Speckle Park

Nyngan producer Jack Carter, Innaminna, said the biggest saving grace over the past 12 months had been the market opportunities for their product.

"Our weaners we were able to sell through the new meat brand SPKL that has given us a worthwhile premium in the drought while we have been struggling with selling others," he said.

"We have been able to afford to offload some big numbers of the weaners to allow us to feed our breeders and to keep the business flowing so we aren't left behind when it finally does break.

"We also had Mort and Co sourcing our cattle, and offering a premium for our Speckles so the breed obviously must be performing."

The Carters plan to end up with mainly all first cross Speckle Park females and sell F1 steers to see how they keep performing.

When Mr Carter first saw the Speckles he thought they were "too pretty" for their Nyngan conditions.

But after two years of drought the breed had proved they were able to perform well for the Carter family.

They aim to ensure they have access to enough bulls to service their commercial herd into the future.

They aim to ensure they have access to enough bulls to service their commercial herd into the future.

"We have extremely hot and dusty conditions, but the Speckles have proven they can stand up in harsh conditions," he said.

"And I think they are going to have a pretty big future in Australia.

"Something we have really noticed is how quick the calves get going from a young age.

"They are a step ahead the others."