The involvement with cross-bred seedstock production commenced in 1996 at the property “Currawee” Moree. The original crossbreds were developed from Moreton Bay Shorthorns, Dulverton Angus, Westholm Shorthorns, Riverslea Shorthorns and Jon Wrights Blueys (stabilised Angus/Shorthorn)
In 2004 Blair & Josie Angus invited us to develop a crossbred to optimise production in the more extensive catte breeding areas – Carpentaria Downs and to fullfil their Signature Beef caracse/cut specifications.
The focus in the Currawee Crossbred has been in the economically important profit drivers which include:
- Adequate growth
- Above average eating quality
- Acceptable Saleable Beef Yields – muscle to bone ratio, even and adequate fat distribution
- Survival – Tropical Adaption
Crossbreeding is opposite to pure breeding crossbreeding,
- Covers up recessive genes by increasing heterozygosity
- Decreases breeding purity
- Eliminates families in one generation
Crossbreeding has important implications to Beef Production enterprises in ‘harsher’ environments (climate, nutrition, pests).
The major phenotypic effect of crossbreeding is to cause improvement in traits related to physical fitness or survival.
Three way crosses result in an increase of 23% in kilograms of calf weaned per cow joined. 8.5% of this increase is due to improved calf survival (birth to weaning) and 13.5% due to increased growth part due to increased milk production and better mothering ability amongst the cross bred dams.
Currawee Crossbred Model
- The crossbred bull production program commenced in 1996 with the purchase of 50 Moreton Bay Shorthorn heifers. The Moreton Bay herd was known for its maternal, marbling and adequate growth. The marbling data was gathered by AMH during the early 1990’s at Beef City.
- The Moreton Bay herd had no Maine Anjou in it.
- To re-invigorate the cross, selected Angus semen was used over some selected Westholm (Tambo district) and Riverslea (Surat district) Shorthorn cows. The superior male progeny (4 bulls from each location) were kept and used over the existing Angus cross Shorthorn females every joining season for 3 generations.
- Three bulls from Jon Wrights Bluey (Angus cross Shorthorn stabilized) were also used to widen the genetic base.
- Clay Centre research, written up during the early 1990’s supported the need for three breeds in the cross to ensure adequate heterosis retention. Retained heterosis is critical to optimise performance once the commercial herds using these crossbreds keep and breed from females by the crossbred bulls.
- The third breed introduced was the ‘New Direction Simmental’. By far the most effective of the New Direction Simmentals were the Gateway Simmentals bred by Jim and Lyn Butcher in Montana. The Gateway Simmentals are much more moderate framed than the traditional European cattle and so require much less maintenance. The New Direction Simmentals come complete with readily available carcase data.
- Data gathered by the USA Simmental Association has been instrumental in providing factual evidence re the important carcase performance of the New Direction Simmental.
- In 2004 Blair and Josie Angus asked us to help them with their seedstock production for Carpentaria Downs. The females had to be retained and the steer progeny grown out to 400kg, fed for 100 days (No HGP) and the carcase had to fulfil the Kimberley Red spec.
- By 2004 the 3 way cross females were being multiplied and so the need was for a ‘Sire Breed’ that was not going to detract from the all important carcase merit traits. N.B. Most of the cross bred research conducted world wide indicates there is little to no hybrid vigour effect for the carcase traits. Therefore the Sire Breed could not afford to strip carcase merit from the program.
- The Sire Breeds selected included the Bonsmara and the Belmont Red.
- Initially the program concentrated on straight Bonsmara’s they were joined to a set of Angus cows and the 3 way cross cows. Several issues came to the fore with the Bonsmara progeny;-
- Small testicles
- Lack of body length
- Decision taken to incorporate Belmont Red into the sire line, the adaptor line. An advantage of using the Belmont has come from the CRC I and II data available on the Belmont Red’s. Unfortunately much of this data has still to be written up.
- Belmont Red/Bonsmara sires sourced from Mt Eugene, Valinor and Belmont Research Station. The Belmont infusion has improved
- Scrotal circumference
- Body length
- Hair type.
- The outcome has to be 50% Tropical Adaptation and 50% British Taurus. The breed percentages are not of a concern.
- Given the fact that cattle producers in the extensive beef production regions must retain females it is important that the female herd is stimulated with additional hybrid vigour particularly after the third generation.
- To introduce the additional vigour an additional breed has been added – The Red Poll.
- The Red Poll is a British Taurus of similar performance to the Angus and the Shorthorn. The additive traits from the Red Poll include:-
- Slick hair
- Red colour
- Ideal muscle to bone ratio
- The first set of Red Poll infused bulls will be going to work at Carpentaria next joining season.
The Currawee Crossbred enterprise is still producing bulls from Step 4, Step 5 and Step 6. The first of the Red Poll infused bulls will be transported to Carpentaria Downs later in the Autumn for use next joining season.
The following set of photographs provide an indication of the types of bulls used to establish this 50% Tropical Adaptation(Taurus) and 50% British.
Thanks to Blair and Josie Angus for the inspiration they have provided and for the data they continue to supply to assist with the refinement and future direction.
Thanks to Tony Clift for his assistance re the establishment of a second cell of 300 cows to widen the gene pool.
Thanks to Geoffrey Maynard Mt Eugene, for his advice re the Belmont Red genetics.
Thanks to Ian and Buzz Adams for their committment re the establishment of the first cell of cows and for their birth date records.
.1037 Belmont Red x Bonsmara.
Used over purebred Angus cows. Photo taken at Shannon Vale Station, Glen Innes in early May 2014 note slick coat, ideal muscle to bone ratio , near perfect testicles, dark pigment and body length. Walking ability is a positive.
0.553 Belmont Red x Bonsmara.
Used over purebred Angus cows. Photo taken at Shannon Vale Station, Glen Innes in early May 2014 note slick coat, tremendous body capacity, musculature, bone to muscle ratio and easy doing.
1.206 Belmont Red
Used over purebred Angus cows. Photo taken at Shannon Vale Station, Glen Innes in early May 2014 note slick coat, length, capacity, tight sheath, testicles and docile temperament.
2.566 Belmont Red
Sire: Belmont Red 106 (Progeny tested in CRC I and II and proved to be the standout sire for early puberty in heifer progeny and rebreeding amongst lst calving female progeny)
Used over purebred Angus heifers. Photo taken at Shannon Vale Station, Glen Innes in early May 2014 note slick coat, not exhibiting as much musculature as some of the previous bulls his contribution is female fertility.
Sire: 7.240 (Belmont Bonsmara Cross bull)
Dam: B239 (Red Gene Carrier Angus Cow)
Weaning Weight (209 days): 308kg
Daily Gain: 1.47kg/day
Yearling Weight (402days): 578kg
Daily Gain: 1.44kg/day
Photo taken at Shannon Vale Station, Glen Innes in early May 2014 note slick coat, poll, tight sheath, body length, body capacity and overall musculature. Used over the Belmont Red x Bonsmara 3 way cross females (Black Simmental cross Angus/Shorthorn).
BG213 (3yr old)
Sire: MTE Geoffrey( Purebred Bonsmara bull)
Dam: Purebred Red Poll Cow
Photo taken at Shannon Vale Station, Glen Innes in early May 2014 note slick coat, body length, body capacity, testicles, easy calving, used over 3 way cross heifers at 14 months, red coat and docile temperament. The Red Poll will widen the gene base, add polledness, maintain slick coat and fertility.
JB094 (263 days age)
Sire: EB080 (Bonsmara cross Angus/Shorthorn)
Dam: DB057 (Bonsmara cross Purebred Angus Cow)
Weaning Weight: (263 days) 303kg
Daily gain: 1.15kg/day
Photo taken at Shannon Vale Station, Glen Innes in early May 2014. Note red colour, natural poll.
FB209 (rising 4yr old)
Sire: 1.808 (Belmont Red)
Dam: X180 (Purebred Angus Cow)
Photo taken at Shannon Vale Station, Glen Innes in early May 2014. Slick coated, easy doing, adequate milk (calved September 2013) and ideal mature weight.
FB168 (rising 4yr old)
Sire: 7.238 (Belmont Red x Bonsmara)
Dam: CS17 (Black Simmental x Angus/Shorthorn Cow)
Photo taken at Shannon Vale Station, Glen Innes in early May 2014. The start of Perfection!