Easy-cross genetics a maine attraction

WHERE IT STARTED: Jarrod Morham with the first maine-anjou bull he ever bought.
WHERE IT STARTED: Jarrod Morham with the first maine-anjou bull he ever bought. Contributed

KAREN Morham thinks there is a fair bit in the way of maine-anjou genetics out there, but whether people admit to it or not is another matter.

Mrs Morham runs a maine-anjou stud in Lurg, Victoria, and was up last week to spruik the breed at Beef Expo.

She said she first fell in love with the gentle giants when her husband came home with a beautiful big bull to put over their black baldies.

Maines were known for their excellent crossing abilities thanks to recessive genes that left progeny looking like the other half of the cross.

"If you cross them with herefords you get a hereford, if you cross them with angus you get angus and if you cross them with murray greys you get murray greys,” Mrs Morham said.

"If you cross them with British breeds you will probably come out with animals 150kg heavier than one at the same age.

It wasn't long before they made the decision to import full French genetics and never looked back.

She said the breed was originally an all-purpose one, and despite their lack of use on dairy farms these days, their excellent milk production made for good mothering abilities.

That wasn't where the benefits ended.

"What isn't good about them?” was the reply when asked about the best attributes of the breed.

"Their temperament, their yield, their low birthweight - they're about 35-40kg on the ground - and they take off quick.

"Their calving ease, their mothering abilities, their feed efficiency.”

She said if you had an eye for it you could find a bit of maine in many breeds, with one notable area being recent improvements to hereford eye colouring.

She said herefords were previously very prone to eye cancers due to the white colouring around their eyes, but it had likely been quietly bred out using maine-anjou genetics thanks to their invisible genetics.

She said they were also incredibly hardy, thriving anywhere from Alberta, Canada at -40°C all the way through to Finley in inland Victoria, where the mercury could top out anywhere up to 50°C.

Topics:  cattle genetics maine-anjou

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