Special cows spotted at auction

By Geoff Lee

April 6, 2017 12:00 AM

bovine beauty This Speckle Park heifer fetched $12,500 at the Source auction for this special breed at the Lloydminster Exhibition Grounds April 1. GEOFF LEE LLS PHOTO

Breeders of Speckle Park cattle have plenty to moo about.
The first heifer up for auction at the Source Speckle Park Bull & Female sale at the Lloydminster Exhibition Grounds on April 1 fetched $12,500.
“We’re getting incredibly good prices for the breed,” said Rod Remin, business manager for the Canadian Speckle Park Association who drove in for the auction from Crossfield, Alta.
“They are really popular; we have shipped a lot of genetics to Australia and that’s keeping the price up.”
Five Western Canadian breeders presented a total of 57 lots at the Source auction, with the average price for heifers sold being $7,653 and $3,954 for bulls.
The auction reflected the growing demand for the purebred cattle internationally along with semen and embryos.
“There’s been a lot of excitement in the breed in the last couple of years—you can hear the buzz around the breed,” announced Rob Voice, from Bohrson Marketing to the audience.
“These are such good sound docile cattle that can offer a lot of things to a lot of producers, and they certainly have an eye appeal that is all their own.”
Speckle Park is a beef cow developed in Saskatchewan and is only the second unique breed to be developed in Canada.
Remin said the history of the breed dates back to 1959 when a lady named Mary Lindsay from Greenstreet Sask. had some cattle with the speckled look.
“Another couple, Bill and Eileen Lamont from Maidstone, were angus breeders and they liked the pattern and they started to incorporate it with the angus they had,” explained Remin.
“They discovered the breed had some good things going on like small calves, easy calving, vigorous calves, marbled meat, exceptionally tender tasty beef.”
The Speckle Park officially became a distinct breed of purebred cattle in 2006 by the Canadian Animal Pedigree Act.
Today, there are 168 members of the Speckle Park Association, some of whom sold embryos and semen at the Source sale in Lloydminster to buyers from around the world.
“The easiest way to move genetics is through semen and embryos,” said Remin using the growth of the breed in Australia as an example.
“That was all done through frozen genetics because no one can afford to put a live animal on a plane or a boat,” he said.
Ed Smith, a founding member of the Speckle Park Association and a breeder from the Battleford area loves how docile the breed is.
“I like their calving ease; I like their weight gains, that type of thing,” he said. “They are easy feeders; they are easy to be around, even my wife is not afraid of them.”
Smith said their greatest claim to fame is the quality of the carcass for beef.
He said the breeders like them because when they send steers to markets or cull heifers, quite often they’re getting a premium grade for them, so they are getting more money.
Smith is retired, but he’s got shares in three or four cows with one offered for sale at the Source auction.
“The prices for this breed have been outstanding; breeders are snapping up heifers to put them in their commercial herd,” he said.
Roland Chibri from Lashburn said he and his dad, Dale from Neilberg, are the second longest breeders of the Speckle Park in the world.
“My dad was in the Angus business and I got started in the Speckle Park business, so he’s joined me now,” he said.
They both love the breed for its calving ease and the quality of the meat among its many selling points.
The Chibris run about 65 head of cattle and they put about 30 consignment lots on the sale with bulls and heifers, and some semen and embryos.
Roland said buyers loved the breed for the same reasons he does.
“You don’t have to worry about pulling these calves or doing C-sections,” he said.
“These cows look after themselves.”

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