Poll Herefords productive and profitable
On a global scale, the Hereford beef cattle breed has dominated, a result of having exceptional temperament, feed conversion and carcase quality.
While popular with past WA breeders, particularly in the Wheatbelt, they fell victims to all-cropping programs, but a recent movement of renewed interest has been progressing, sparked by the undying performance characteristics of the breed.
Producers who have remained loyal to the English breed have mostly found favour with modern Poll Herefords through fully scanned and measured selections using Estimated Breeding Values — tipping the scales in weight-for-age, intramuscular fat and eye muscle area.
In the meantime, long-time breeders Terry and Sandy Woods, of Beverley-based Terraneil Poll Hereford stud, have had to improvise, selling more bulls into both pure and cross-breeding programs throughout the southern agricultural regions, as well as several northern pastoral areas. “Poll Herefords are ideally suited for cross-breeding programs in WA herds,” Mr Woods said.
“The easy-care breed has a wonderful temperament and exceptional eating quality benefits that can add valuable production into any herd. Our selection criteria is based around quiet bulls, with good growth, conformation, high IMF and EMA, low birth-weight and good eye pigmentation.
“At the commercial saleyards, Poll Herefords have kept up with other breeds in receiving higher values as the beef industry continues to reap the rewards of growing demand for quality, clean and green WA beef.”
Mr Woods said many of the State’s leading pure breeding herds were growing in size, which had resulted in competitive bidding at bull sales.
“In recent years, we have had a few new dairy clients looking to use Poll Hereford bulls as a cross-breeding alternative,” he said.
Darkan-based commercial Poll Hereford breeder Geoff Gibbs, who has 50 years of experience, swears by the breed. “I offered 39 steers and 20 heifer calves straight off Mum, all pure-bred, plus another 25 cross-bred to Red Angus at Boyanup recently and received 320-352¢/kg liveweight from graziers,” he said.
“They stood up very well in the overall yarding, which had some exceptional quality.” Mr Gibbs runs 200 pure breeders based on Terraneil and Quaindering bloodlines.
Shane and Nicola Kelliher, who run cattle at Darkan and Wandering, are using Poll Hereford genetics in their cross-breeding program, producing certified-branded beef under the Pasturefed Cattle Assurance System.
“We market direct our farm-produced Wandering Clover Fed Beef brand to a growing clientele who seek an ethically produced ‘feel-good’ product,” Mr Kelliher said.
“The Poll Hereford’s quality carcase attributes and quiet temperament are a thriving component of our cross-bred program.”
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