Glacier FarmMedia – A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous,” according to the Chanel fashion house.
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If a cow can indeed be classy and fabulous, Colgan’s Chanel 22 C fits the bill.
The Speckle Park is almost eight years old, due to calve Jan. 21, and topped the Canadian Western Agribition sale this year at $48,000, just $1,000 under the show’s overall high seller.
Jordon Underhill from Underhill Specs at Guelph, Ont., consigned Chanel and she sold to Gotcha Speckle Park from Cundletown, New South Wales, Australia.
Live animals can’t move between the two countries so Chanel will go back to Ontario. The cow will be flushed and embryos sent to the new owner while Underhill manages her under a contract.
Why it matters: The Speckle Park breed was developed in Canada, and is very popular in Australia.
“Obviously, we wanted to make sure she brought what she’s worth and I think she did,” said Underhill. “We had some idea of the value because last year we sold at this sale pick of our herd, which also went to an Australian and it sold for $55,000.”
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Chanel’s bull calf, US Rockefeller 5K, also sold at Agribition, to Gunn Lake Speckle Park in Alberta, as did two lots of three embryos.
“We did IVF on her while she was about 65 days pregnant and we made sexed female embryos,” Underhill said.
To skeptics who ask why someone would sell their best cow, he said it’s to better the breed overall.
Chanel has already had six calves for the farm that have all been high sellers or done well at shows.
“She has probably one of the best udders in the breed, which we’re always trying to improve in beef cattle,” he said. “We’ve flushed her before and we need to spread these genetics to make the breed better.
“It’s still a very infant breed, Speckle Park, compared to the other mainstream breeds, so we’re still working through getting the quality up and making them better and we feel that she’s one of those cows that is needed within the breed to be populated to make it better.”
Speckle Park are extremely popular in Australia, where there are likely more breeders than in Canada, where the breed was developed.
Chanel has a unique pedigree twist, which also makes her desirable.
“She comes out of a bull called Tycoon Cat who actually was used for a year and then died from an injury, so he wasn’t used very much and then out of a really proven cow line on the cow side,” Underhill explained.
Her bull calf is impressive because of the calf-to-cow ratio.
“The cow is about 1,650 lb. and the calf is 1,150 lb. at 11 months old,” he said. “In the end we’re making milk to convert to beef and that’s a lot of beef there for an 11-month-old calf.”
The calf’s purchaser hopes the udder quality of his dam will carry through in his breeding program.
Underhill said he likes to sell frozen genetics alongside live cattle of the same genetics so buyers can see an example of what they’re getting. The embryos sold at Agribition were the same genetic combination as the cow and her calf.
He said he and the cow’s buyer still had to work out the ownership details of the calf coming in January. It could be shared ownership or Underhill may retain that calf.
Losing the ability to keep future flushes from Chanel is a definite downside to selling her but Underhill said breed quality must continue to improve. Breeders have to work together toward that common goal.
He said five or six years ago it was easy to pick out show winners in the barn and now it’s impossible.
“We need to also thank the Australians that have actually come here, and there’s a U.K. farm here, too,” he said. “That’s quite a commitment. I think that’s the uniqueness of this show for us compared to other shows we go to. You actually have cattlemen walking up and down the aisle that are interested in cattle and talking business.”
Strong sales help breeders to return. Underhill said it cost him about $16,000 to attend Agribition and then travel home.
In Agribition Speckle Park show results, the grand champion female was Ravenworth Willow 510H, with calf at side, Ravenworth Willow 304K, exhibited by Ravenworth Cattle of Middle Lake, Sask. The reserve was Wolf Lake Ida 4J from Colgan’s Cattle Co. and Lazar Livestock Ltd.
On the bull side, Notta 305E Prime Time 312H was grand champion, exhibited by Notta Ranch of Neilburg, Sask., and Hidden Valley. The reserve was INC Talladega 11J from INC Cattle Co. of Saskatoon and Talladega Group.
– This article was originally published at The Western Producer.