Cattle breeder sees Red

Rueben HaleThe West Australian

The Lincoln Red is an under-numbered and under-rated cattle breed, according to Boyup Brook producer Neil Derrick.

Mr Derrick says Lincoln Red cattle should have a bigger share of the WA beef market, but has been held back through lack of marketing.

Lincoln Red numbers are about 1000 for the State.

The breed originated in Lincolnshire on the exposed east coast of England and had became hardy to survive.

Their genetic base goes back to the Bos urus cattle introduced by the Scandinavian invaders in the eighth to the 10th centuries.

The cattle are the genetic base of many European breeds that are now revolutionising the cattle industry worldwide.

Lincoln Reds continue to be medium to large cattle, unlike other traditional British breeds, and interest in the breed has been growing in many parts of the world

With their characteristic deep red colour, Lincoln Reds are one of the bigger-framed traditional British beef breeds, making them well suited for crossing with other breeds, particularly in tropical and sub-tropical areas.

Mr Derrick said the breed was a feed-efficient animal and a good converter of forage, being easily adaptable to regional grazing and climatic conditions.

"It has a strong broad muzzle and well placed legs, both characteristics which are vital for a good animal," he said.

Mr Derrick said both pedigree and crossbred progeny grew rapidly and could be finished under many different systems.

"Whether grazing on limited grass or being finished more intensively, Lincoln Reds produce tasty, succulent, well-marbled beef," he said.

Mr Derrick said breeding and stock management was easy for the breed.

"I have bred Lincoln Reds for many years and always found the breed very docile and easily managed," he said

"The other advantages I have found is that they're hardy and thrifty, long-lived, predominantly polled and crosses well with any breed.

"They also are moderate calf size easy-calvers, with a plentiful milk supply."

Mr Derrick said the biggest advantage of the breed was the extremely high growth rates.

"The calves go onto grass after weaning at about seven to eight months of age and they are put on the feedlot at 350kg for 40 days, where they've averaged 248kg extra weight in that time," he said.

The homemade feed mix is made of Mitika oats, which is higher in energy than barley and high-er protein, sitting around 13 per cent.

"I don't use lupins, canola or urea because urea is made from hydrocarbons which are carcinogenic."

Mr Derrick said he was now on a mission to raise the profile of breed. "There are currently about 200-odd Angus stud breeders in Australia and they've got a huge advertising budget to promote the breed," he said.

Richard Turner at Tone Bridge is the only producer of Lincoln Red cattle in WA, with only 18 breeders in Australia.

"We are trying to rally more support for the breed and encourage people to consider taking the breed on," Mr Derrick said.

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