Since first laying eyes on the Speckle Park breed in 2008, Dale Humphries has been resolute in promoting their advantages domestically and abroad.
His determination and belief in the breeds potential has now seen Speckle Park recognised as a purebred breed in Brazil, a feat which hasn't been accomplished since Angus were accepted there 35 years ago.
Dale and Belinda 'Bin' Humphries, with assistance from their children Claudia, Hugo, Max and Henry, run their business from their home property at Oberon, in the New South Wales Central Tablelands. The family also run cattle on leased country, comprising 607ha around the Oberon district, and agist cattle on fellow producer Stephen Haywards' Allora-based property in Queenslands' Darling Downs.
They started their Speckle Park program in 2008, with the purchase of 100 embryos and 20 live calves from Speckle Park Cattle Co.
"Early on we were also fortunate enough to purchase heifers and embryos from well established Canadian breeders. We developed a strong relationship with Gary and Nancy Kiziak, Codiak Acres. This relationship provided us with access to some of the best female Speckle Park genetics in the world, giving us a foundation to produce quality, consistent, sound cattle from the start," Mr Humphries said.
"We love their fertility, maternal attributes, doability, and excellent carcase qualities. Their ability to cross with Tropical, Euro, and British breeds is also a big benefit, as is their phenomenal meat quality. They're moderate framed, easy doing, and well-suited to any environment," he said.
Mrs Humphries said there were only a handful of Speckle Park available in Australia when they first began breeding them.
"It was a big risk to take them on, but I firmly believe that Dale had a vision of the next 50 years of Speckle Park production and success, when we began replacing our mixed commercial Angus herd," she said.
The opportunity to target the Brazilian cattle industry came along six years ago when, through mutual friends, the Humphries met Pedro Demartini, a Brazilian national living in Australia.
"Pedro tried some of our Speckle Park beef and fell in love. He said we need to get it into Brazil."
Seeing how well their Speckle Park x Brahman program had worked in Australia in relation to meat quality and high yields, the Humphries were confident that, from a production standpoint, the breed would work in Brazil, a country which chiefly utilises tropical breed types.
With their global focus in mind, the Humphries commenced discussions with Mr Demartini and his Brazil-based business partner, Ricardo Monteiro, who together established Speckle Park Brazil as a company.
"They worked with the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply and the National Association of Breeders Herdbook Collares for more than two years to bring the program to realisation.
"In the interim we'd been flushing cattle and collecting bulls with the aim of sending genetics to Brazil once we knew the breed was going to be recognised."
This recognition was made official with an announcement in Brazil on January 26, this year. Mr Demartini said since that time, the enquiries they've received have been "amazing".
"We're working on shipping genetics from Australia and Canada into Brazil at present, and we have recip herds ready for embryo implant and commercial co-operator herds ready for AI," he said.
"Speckle Park Brazil and Herdbook Collares will handle stud registrations, and coordinate the importation and licensing of genetics."
Mr Humphries said they're excited to be the first registered Speckle Park stud in Brazil.
"We're now working with our Brazilian partners to get to a point where we can hold bull, female and semen sales.
"With a national herd of over 230 million head, including 35 million dairy cattle, we're keen to get calves on the ground and see what Speckle Park can do in the Brazilian environment. With how they've adapted to the various climates in Australia we're confident they'll flourish.
"Increased meat quality, carcase yield, weight gain, and hybrid vigour are a few of the many benefits, which Speckle Park will provide for Brazilian producers.
Logistically speaking, Mr Humphries said ET and AI programs will be up and running in the next three months.
Mr Demartini said the AI will predominately be in commercial Nelor and Angus herds, while the co-operator herds will be used for the ET work.
"We're excited to see the results and the growth of Speckle Park in Brazil."
On the home front
The family is also gearing up for Beef Australia 2021 where they'll be entering a full show team in the stud cattle competition.
"We'll be offering 26 high quality bulls in our Rockin' at Rocky Sale on the grounds during Beef on May 5."
Wattle Grove will also hold an online-only genetics sale on June 26, and on October 16, their annual on farm sale will take place, featuring a catalogue packed with bulls, females and genetics.
These sales will come on the back of what Mrs Humphries considers a "really positive result" for their 2021 Twilight Sale, held in Toowoomba on February 27.
While achieving a $65,000 top price for Wattle Grove Ba Da Boom Q127 was "amazing", she said it was as equally pleasing to see bulls sell for $5000 to $6000 to commercial producers.
"It's good that commercial breeders can get into the breed cost effectively and enjoy its benefits."
It was Wattle Groves' third Queensland sale and Mrs Humphries said it's something they'll be continuing.
She said several large commercial operators bought females at the sale for the first time to breed their own Speckle Park bulls.
"We also noticed at this sale, more so than in previous years, there were several volume buyers picking up bulls for their commercial herds. I think this shows that confidence in the breed is increasing."