Dexter genes yield first drop

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Bob GarnantCountryman
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Trish Cabassi, of Billabong Dexter stud, was proud of first-drop calves by US sire SMD Ferl Certus at her family's Oldbury farm.
Camera IconTrish Cabassi, of Billabong Dexter stud, was proud of first-drop calves by US sire SMD Ferl Certus at her family's Oldbury farm. Credit: Bob Garnant

Influential Dexter genetics, with origins back to the UK via the US, is now on the ground running with hope that a few stars have been born.

Billabong Dexter stud, based at Oldbury, in conjunction with Glenwarlock Dexter stud, of Upper Swan, took a detour in a world search for a suitable semen sire after first choice, UK bull Breoch Sultan, was not available directly.

The two Dexter studs settled on US bull SMD Ferl Certus, a son of the Sultan, to gain that bloodline’s attributes.

To no disappointment, Ferl Certus came with full credentials and a successful show record as do his progeny, and the WA studs hope for more of the same.

Both studs now have first-drops on the ground by Ferl Certus, which will add to WA’s quality line of Dexters and outcross genetics and contribute towards Australia’s gene pool.

For the Cabassi family, of Billabong, established in 1989, this year marks the stud’s 30th anniversary.

Stud co-principal Trish Cabassi said Billabong’s first Dexter import came in the form of semen from Thomas’ Reu Grande, out of North America.

“Back then we wanted to ensure a diverse genetic base and the best quality available was in our import intentions,” she said.

“The Dexter cattle we breed today are a vast improvement on the standard we had access to through early importations.”

Mrs Cabassi said the stud’s improved herd quality throughout the years was a direct result of careful selection of sires and strict culling of non-desirable traits.

“Progeny from Ferl Certus and other remarkable Billabong Dexters will be available to breeders Australia wide,” she said.

“Depth and wedge shape in our cattle have complemented the poll lines we have been gradually introducing.”

Mrs Cabassi said she and her family were extremely pleased with the calibre of first-drop calves by Ferl Certus over a good cross section of the stud’s females.

“We have 17 calves on the ground thus far, almost 50 per cent females to bulls and showing all three colours,” she said.

The family plan to have a couple of Ferl calves at this year’s IGA Perth Royal Show and were looking forward to a 2020 junior team.

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