Newspaper article Coffs Coast Advocate (Coffs Harbour, Australia)

It's True . . . Good Things Come in Small Packages

Newspaper article Coffs Coast Advocate (Coffs Harbour, Australia)

It's True . . . Good Things Come in Small Packages

Article excerpt

Byline: Belinda Scott belinda.scott@coffscoastadvocate.com.au

THE lightweight black poll Jersey cross heifer 'sheepvanners' of the 1960s sparked interest last week.

How did they come about? They were the product of joining a 'black poll' bull to Jersey milking cows.

This was to get the male calves a bit heavier at birth for the light veal trade. Pure Jersey calves were very small and often not worth sending to the abattoir. The 'black poll' Jersey cross heifer often fitted this description as they were lighter than the steers.

So they were often grown out to a few months old and sold as 'poddies'. These little heifers turned out in most cases to be surprise packets and often landed where I was stationed - Goulburn.

Bought for almost nothing, they had distinct advantages and a great future after spending some time on good tucker.

As cows they were extremely fertile. An old saying was 'if there's a bull a mile away, assumes they are in calf!'

They were little, didn't weigh much at all and had a pelvic cavity you could 'drive a bus through'.

They were easy calvers to any breed of bull and the most efficient feed converters into beef in the way of calf production. They needed minimum maintenance to keep body and soul together.

To put it bluntly they put everything into their calf's growth weight and condition as well as staying in good 'nick' and getting back in calf quickly. Because of this they needed at least medium nutrition.

They regularly reared calves that weighed about the same or more than they did when their calves were 8-10 months old. At maturity these little wonders weighed from 325kg to 375kg live.

Mated to a beef bull, the meat from these calves is the most tender I have eaten.

One Goulburn breeder used to buy all the young 'black poll' cross Jersey heifers he could lay his hands on. …

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