This article first appeared in our sister publication, Dairy Farmer.
Northland dairy farmer Ben Berridge has been using Limousin genetics over his Kiwicross herd for the past eight years and, like a fine wine, they are only improving with time.
Milking 300 Kiwicross cattle on 95ha, Berridge’s business overlaps with his parents’ beef farm, requiring outstanding genetics from which to breed excellent beef calves.
“On my parents’ farm we rear bull calves and take them through to two years old, so we needed an animal that bred an excellent beef calf,” Berridge says.
“After some mixed results using more standard breeds, we decided the exotics would be the best option.”
The Berridge family have known Natalie and David Roberts of Snake Gully Limousin for many years, so it made sense to buy genetics from a stud they had an established relationship with.
“The breed sort of fell into our lap a bit,” Berridge says.
“Because we knew Natalie and David, it was the logical choice. But that’s not to take anything away from the excellence of the breed, and the hard work and passion Natalie and David have contributed to the Snake Gully stud.”
With Berridge’s Kiwicross herd heavy on Jersey breeding, he has found that the Limousin/Jersey combination is a match made in heaven.
“The Jersey/Limousin mix has had no trouble calving at all, which from a dairy farmer’s point of view is very important,” he says.
“The combination also produces a calf that grows … not so much in the structural sense, but it stacks on muscle like you wouldn’t believe, leaving us with a big, compact, well-built animal. It works well for our system.”
He has also been impressed with the quality of the resulting meat.
“For me, a Jersey/Limousin cross animal is my favourite to eat,” he says.
“You get the Jersey fat and the Limousin muscle.”
He says that although the breed is given a hard time for its wild temperament, the work David and Natalie have done behind the scenes at Snake Gully, breeding a genetically quiet animal, has been incredible.
“In the paddock, they are all my mates,” he says.
“I can pat all the bulls; their temperament is brilliant. It shows in the calves, too.”
He says his established relationship with Natalie and David creates a good foundation for genetics that speak for themselves.
“They are amazing people who are so passionate about the industry and breeding excellent cattle,” he says. “I’ve worked for them as well, and they are brilliant people to work with. They want the best for their cattle, and their buyers.”
More: Snake Gully is holding a sale on June 13.