Dexters a special breed

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Bob GarnantThe West Australian
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Alex and Trish Cabassi, of Billabong Dexter stud, Oldbury, celebrated their family's points tally in the cattle section at the IGA Perth Royal Show with WA Governor Kerry Sanderson and RAS president Paul Carter.
Camera IconAlex and Trish Cabassi, of Billabong Dexter stud, Oldbury, celebrated their family's points tally in the cattle section at the IGA Perth Royal Show with WA Governor Kerry Sanderson and RAS president Paul Carter. Credit: Bob Garnant

Dexter cattle walked away with the top awards in the Speciality Breeds Interbreed Competition which consisted of three different breeds.

Qualifying for the judging in both the female and bull classes, were Dexters from Billabong stud, Miniature Herefords from Paragon stud and Highland cattle.

Judge Gavin O’Brien said the Dexter female, Billabong Kinky, had overall completeness as the cow and her calf paraded at the IGA Perth Royal Show.

Making the show a complete success for the Cabassi family, of Billabong, Mr O’Brien picked their bull, Billabong Mufasa, for his interbreed bull ribbon winner.

In the earlier breed judging, Mufasa was sashed with the supreme exhibit ribbon for his balance and strength.

Stud co-principal Trish Cabassi said Dexters became a passion after importing live cattle and semen from the US.

Billabong also imported embryos from South Africa which resulted in an outstanding female, Billabong Voodo Magic, which had a large influence on the herd.

“My parents bred Limousin cattle and I wanted to work with a smaller breed I felt comfortable with,” she said.

“The success of this year’s Show, which included having most points in the cattle section, was largely because of the great influence of our bull, Edge, which was bred mostly on US bloodlines. The importation of genetics has been instrumental in the development of the stud back to the late 1980s and, from there, we have made a quantum leap in quality by specifically breeding for type — feminine females that exhibit a wedge shape with good, long-lasting udders and bulls that are bred for high carcase value that will finish evenly.

“All stud female considerations must meet the basic structural requirements for rearing a healthy calf.

“Our herd consist of approximately 65 breeding females which is one of the largest Dexter studs in Australia.

“On last count we have bred 920 registrable Dexter calves.”

Mrs Cabassi runs the stud with husband Mike, and their sons, Daniel, Alex and Ben.

“Not only has our farm produced a great line of Dexters, it has provided a healthy lifestyle environment to bring up the boys,” she said.

“They have learnt the importance of caring for all the farm animals and are the better for it.

“We work as a team on the farm and at the shows, which bodes well for them in their pursuit of AFL football, currently playing colts and reserves for South Fremantle Football Club.

“Through the agricultural shows our family have become part of the wider WA cattle community which is a treasured part of our lives.”

Mrs Cabassi said raising three boys on a small farming concern has been financially challenging but the long-term benefits outweigh the disadvantages.

“We have developed other financial streams along the way which include chaff and beef sales,” she said. “Dexter beef is of high quality and unique flavour and we have customers lined up for more.”

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