I’ll probably date myself here, but as a teenager whenever some of my friends and I got in trouble at school we would exclaim, “Free Nelson Mandela!” , and then, in the finest Monty Python style, claim we were being repressed. (If you haven’t seen it in a while check out The Holy Grail again, just a classic). This tactic never bore fruit but was amusing nonetheless.

Nowadays when “Free” is referenced it is not in relation to Mandela or beer, but usually refers to cattle and is linked with traits. These free traits of fertility, IMF%, Eye Muscle Area, soundness and temperament have no cost associated. They do not add to the requirement of feed or energy to be present in the herd, which makes them valuable indeed.

At this early stage for EBV’s in Speckle Park our references for these free traits are Scrotal Size, EMA and IMF %. As premiums become more prevalent for carcase quality, and fertility is the main profit driver of any commercial cattle operation, a focus on these traits by seed stock producers is vital.

Assessing the Speckle Park AI sires available to breeders for these traits make interesting reading. Below are all the AI sires that have a combined EBV total of 1.5 or above for the three traits considered. Each trait is, of course, independent of the other and represent different things. I thought it interesting, however, to assess those sires that bring a balanced approach to these free traits.

A focus on fertility and carcase is a path to profitability and will be of significant benefit to commercial producers. Lifting the fertility, EMA and IMF% of Speckle Park will make the breed even more attractive to commercial cattlemen and processors, thus benefiting all seed stock producers.

The future for Speckle Park is certainly exciting and if you need some inspirational happy dance moves, have a look at the link to the Free Nelson Mandela video clip below. A little practice and you will no doubt master them.