Jenna the 'maine' attraction

Jenna the 'maine' attraction


Stock and Land Beef
The Morham family, Finley, NSW, jumped straight into the cattle showing circuit after forming the Morham Maine-Anjou stud seven years ago. Youngsters Jarrod and Brooke (centre) have taken to parading the cattle, and are supported by parents Karen and Brain.

The Morham family, Finley, NSW, jumped straight into the cattle showing circuit after forming the Morham Maine-Anjou stud seven years ago. Youngsters Jarrod and Brooke (centre) have taken to parading the cattle, and are supported by parents Karen and Brain.

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THE Morham family are accidental stud breeders of sorts.

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THE Morham family are accidental stud breeders of sorts.

Seven years ago the family bought a red Maine-Anjou bull to run with their black baldy cows and before long they found themselves at the proverbial breed registry office.

"We never meant to go into a stud but we just fell in love with the bull and thought 'Wouldn't it be great if we got some registered cows as well?," Karen Morham said.

The cows bred well, and two years ago 30 full-blood Maine-Anjou embryos arrived at the Finley, NSW, property.

Fast forward to 2015 and the Morhams have five calves on the ground at the Gingelic from embryos imported from prominent Canadian Manitou's Maine-Anjou stud of Saskatchewan province.

"We've outlaid some investment in getting these embryos from Canada, just so there's new lines in the breed and we can offer something no-one else can in Australia," Mrs Morham said.

The Morhams are already pleased with the development and structure of the Canadian-genesis calves, which are all full siblings and will arrive on-property in April.

"One of our problems is naming them, which is important because they go on the show circuit," Mrs Morham said.

"Because we have the purebreds, and now these five full-bloods, we want them to be a bit distinctive.

"We've gone with French names for them and we'll use the prefix 'Rouge' to tell people they're our French lines."

The breed takes its name from the area of France (Maine and Anjou) where it originated.

It is now recognised in France as Rouge des Pres, which translates as 'reds in the field'.

However, the Morhams have diversified their colour palate this year by purchasing a black Maine-Anjou heifer to cater to clients who prefer a solid black hide despite being reassured of the red gene's recessive nature.

"We prefer the red colour but a lot of people enquire about the black, so that's why we've brought in some black genes too.

"For some reason a lot of people don't want their neighbour to know they've got a different bull going into their Angus herd, even though it's known a lot of producers crossbreed for hybrid vigour."

Aside from colour, the Riverina stud runs two different expressions of the Maine-Anjou breed: the more compact, shorter beefier line which caters to the Australian vealer market, and the taller French line for the heavier slaughter market.

In the stud's short history the Morhams have had success in the show ring with both types of Maine-Anjou cattle.

Their bull Gangster – which is the more compact version – was named champion of its class at several shows last year, while their heifer Jenna, which is taller in height, won the breed's supreme ribbon in 2013 at the Royal Melbourne Show.

And it's Jenna that stands as the family's flagship breeder at the stud.

While she didn't make it to the show circuit last year, the family are hoping to show her in the cow and calf classes this year, after she was tested to be in-calf last week.

The breed's calm temperament, milking ability and an ability to efficiently convert grass into body weight has seen the stud's client base grow over the past few years.

Low birth weights are also a primary focus.

"Any bull that's born over 40 kilograms usually becomes a steer," Mr Morham said.

"And that's not to say that they don't mature out. We've got a bull that weighs 1250kg but was 40kg at birth. We've never pulled a calf by him from either heifers or cows.

"We try to sell bulls that can go over both heifers and cows."

And the steady stream of buyers that are making their way to the Morham's stud is reinforcement that they are heading in the right direction.

"Our stud is starting to grow but it does take time," Mrs Morham said.

"We want to put the breed back out there. It used to flourish years ago but it just died out."

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