Australian Red Dairy Breed’s healthy comeback

NSW Aussie Red breeder and Australian Red Dairy Breed director Sam Graham said interest in the breed had increased following a plateau during the years of strong Holstein export returns.

Last financial year semen sales of Aussie Reds increased from 48,210 to 58,512 straws, according to the National Herd Improvement Association of Australia annual semen market survey — seen by The Weekly Timeslast month — and released at International Dairy Week at Tatura this week.

Mr Graham said a decline in demand and prices in the export heifer market had lead some farmers back to the Aussie Red breed, while others found economic benefits with the health traits, for example, good calf rates, low cell counts, longevity and good feet and legs: “Some have come back because they are sick of pulling Holstein calves out of Holstein heifers,” he said.

The breed hosted an annual general meeting in Warrnambool last week, which also included three farm tours of local breeders.

Aussie Reds are the third-largest dairy breed — by population — in Australia, according to Mr Graham.

Dairy Australia farm business management program manager Neil Lane showed the meeting examples of where herds with well-bred Aussie Red cows were close to the top of the industry in terms of profitability.

“Well-bred red cattle compare equally with other breeds,” he said.

Mr Lane used two farms as examples comparing the financial and physical metrics with Dairy Base data, which includes Victorian Dairy Farm Monitor data as well as NSW Dairy Farm Monitor results.


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