Tag Archives: Janet Poole

SOUTH OF CAPRICORN CALLING

Hello again to Miniature Hereford enthusiasts in the USA. We’ve got a crazy start to summer down here in New Zealand. A wet, cold winter was followed by a wet, cold s

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pring and now drought is threatening in some parts of the country while the others stay sodden. Our area is in between so there is plenty of grass with silage, and shortly, haymaking in full swing.
Show season is underway but at our very first show one of the cows was injured when her leg caught on the lip of a steel portable loading ramp. She’s out for the season now as the wound will take a long time to heal. We have always offloaded onto a grass bank but it was not available this time. From now on we will take some kind of protective covering in case these ramps have to be used again. The show was advised of what had happened and sent photos. I have received an apology with an assurance the matter will be taken care of for the future. No offer to help with the vet bill, though, which is going to be HORRENDOUS!
This Spring a number of cows in New Zealand have been inseminated with straws imported from Robert Watts’ Diamond S Starbuck (a polled mini) to help fast track the establishment of a polled herd. It will be an anxious wait, firstly to see if the cows are in-calf, then to see if the calves arrive safely. A New Zealand bred polled line has also be



en started with using one of my horned mini bulls over several of the smaller polled heifers we have in our regular Hereford Stud. Of the six calves born (three heifers and three bulls) five of them are polled which is a good beginning. I am now on the lookout for more polled mini bulls with some promising ones in the pipeline. The importing procedures take so long I thought it best to start hunting now!1 An advantage now is that in both Australia and the United States a test is available to determine the percentages for homozygous or heterozygous polled and horned genes. A result showing over a 90% likelihood of throwing polled calves is what I am after although with several polled mini heifers now in the country it could be hoped for 100%. Our freezing works (abattoirs) and transporters require anything horned to have the horns not extending beyond the outer limits of the ears with an eventual aim to have no horns accepted.
With the popularity of the Virtual Cattle Show growing I suggested to the New Zealand mini breeders that we run a National one as well. Maybe other countries would like to do the same. There are other breeders here who would like to go to live shows with their cattle but are restricted in different ways so doing it via the internet appeals. Hopefully everyone is stocking up on photos for next year’s VCS. It was interesting to read about the “Hereford – Champion of the World 2012” and “Hereford – Miss World 2012” competitions held in December of this year. It consisted of 80 National Champions from 32 countries and was run via the “Hereford Talk” page on Facebook and the www.herefordbreeder.net website. You can view the pictures and details on all the cattle by visiting that website. Something similar to our VCS?

I now wish you all a happy festive season and hope the winter weather is kind to you.

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ACROSS THE “DITCH” DOWN UNDER – by Janet Poole

Australia and New Zealand are separated by the Tasman Sea, affectionately known as “The Ditch” or “The Pond”, although the countries are just over 1400 kms (869 miles) apart at the closest points. Tasmania is a large island off the south-east corner of Australia and this is where Boomer Creek Farm is found. Boomer Creek takes its name from the common reference to a male kangaroo as a “boomer” owing to a booming noise heard as it bounds across land at speeds of up to 70 kmph (40 mph). Joy and Colin Walters felt this to be an appropriate name for their farm which comprises 400 hectares (988 acres) on the East Coast of Tasmania with beautiful views over Great Oyster Bay leading out into the Tasman Sea.

Since the early 1970s the Walters have had standard sized polled Herefords, then around 1994 their neighbour purchased some Lowline cattle of Angus derivation. Colin and Joy loved the idea of having smaller sized cattle but being “red and white” breeders did some research and discovered Miniature Herefords. Their first purchase was a recipient cow which produced Boomer Creek Atom and shortly afterwards they purchased a heifer, KT Real Roberta (imported from the USA). This was the start of their Miniature Hereford herd.
Having always had polled Herefords it wasn’t long before the Walters realised this would be a much better option than horned minis but it was a case of “do-it-yourself” as there were no polled minis outside of the States. Starting in 1999, they followed the American system of using small standard polled Hereford females with a miniature bull. After considerable searching they eventually found some with frame scores between 4 and 5 and later another one with a frame score of 2 – actually of Classic size. So began the “breeding down” programme to produce polled Miniature Herefords.

For the first five years it was a very slow process with having to keep the size down as well as eliminating horns and also keeping the breed line different. It meant using a horned mini bull across standard polls then using a different horned mini bull to establish another line then back across a standard poll to lose the horns. This could have taken many more years except that in 2004 another Australian breeder imported polled Miniature Hereford embryos from Straitside Ranch in the States from which two heifers and one bull – all homozygous polled – were born. Sired by SSR Micah and out of SSR Miss Misty the bull, Boomer Creek Felix, with a frame score of 1, really sped up the polled breeding programme. With now over 40 progeny, all polled and of frame score 1 or less, he has become the “foundation sire” of polled minis “Down Under.”

Normally the Walters run around 50 breeding cows of which 95% would now be Miniature Herefords, mostly polled. At least twenty of these are homozygous polled and most of them now have three , four and even five generations of Miniature Herefords on both sides of their parenthood. The demand for polled minis in Australia has really taken off as prospective owners/breeders see the big advantage in having no horns to deal with. Half of Colin and Joys’ herd was sold in the last financial year (including horned) with some animals going across Bass Strait to New South Wales and Victoria. They could have sold more but ran out of available stock!

A big part of promoting Boomer Creek cattle is through showing and the Walters have been very successful even against standard Herefords and other breeds. The animals are presented immaculately and well trained.

Joy Walters with Miniature Hereford bull, Boomer Creek Mack – Junior Champion, Grand Champion and Interbreed Champion bull in 2010. A grandson of Boomer Creek Felix.

Seven of these polled Miniature Hereford heifers are by Boomer Creek Felix.

Good breeding and presentation deserves to win. Some of B.C. Felix’ progeny.

 

It is thanks to the outlook and perseverance of such Miniature Hereford Studs in the States as Straitside Ranch (Betty and the late John Johnson) and Long Creek (Susan and Ron Himmelberg) and Boomer Creek (Colin and Joy Walters) in Australia that polled Miniature Herefords have become available for Hereford breed enthusiasts looking for smaller cattle without horns. For those of us following in their footsteps we can only build on the foundation they have laid – the hard work has already been done.