Business Rural Winter 2022

28 | MEAT & WOOL » Marble Mountain Red Devon Kelly Deeks Red Devons an ‘under utilised breed’ Marble Mountain Red Devon bull, cow and calf, with Perendales in the yards at Kairuru, on the Takaka Hill. . Filling a gap for registered Red Devons in the South Island, Jarred Sircombe and Amanda Henderson have started Marble Mountain Red Devon stud at Kairuru on the Takaka Hill, four years after using their rst Red Devon bull in 2017. Jarred and Amanda had just started leasing her parents’ 1400ha farm Kairuru which has been in the Henderson family since 1911 with the marble that built parliament building quarried on the Henderson property in 1914 and shipped across the strait. They were running 1600 Perendale ewes, 450 hoggets, and 120 Angus Hereford cattle, when the couple started looking for a beef breed more suited to the steep and rugged country with long cold winters, no at land and altitude ranging from 400 to 1000 meters above sea level. They got researching and found the Red Devon to be known as a good forager, ef cient feed converter, and thick, moderately sized, well-muscled, round cattle perfect for the steep country. Their calm temperament was also a big tick for Kairuru Farm, with Jarred and Amanda’s young family as well as walking groups and farmstay guests regularly accessing the property. “The temperament on them is just immaculate. I have never culled one on temperament, and I’ve certainly culled a few others of different breeds on temperament. When you’ve got a young family like myself, and also walking groups and cottage guests out here, you don’t want poor tempered cows in the paddock. Their good temperament also makes handling them alot more enjoyable. “The Red Devons are also giving visitors something really nice to look at with their unique, ruby red colour. It’s lovely to see them out in the countryside where everything is normally black or black and white. It’s the same when you see a really nice mob of Hereford cows.” The shape of the Red Devon is akin to the Perendales also run at Kairuru, short, round, and grunty, and also renowned for foraging. Jarred and Amanda rst bought an unregistered Red Devon bull, then added registered bulls from Heughan Gordon’s Millstone stud in Havelock North in 2018 and 2020. “There was a lack of Red Devons in the South Island, so last year we decided to source a few cows and we’ve done that so far from three different studs, all in the North Island,” Jarred says. “There are only three registered herds in the South Island, and one of them is us” Jarred sold his last Hereford bull last year and is now using solely Red Devon bulls. “These bulls we’ve got here are the type of bulls I wanted,” he says. “We threw them out in very good order, and they came back and they’re still in very good order. We are consistently scanning at 96% or above in calf, with some years 100%, and that is single sire mating, no follow up.” The progeny now starting to come through from the Angus Hereford cows, whether they are half or three quarter crosses, are wintering a lot easier, staying nice and round, and keeping their condition through winter. Jarred and Amanda are looking forward to a change in focus of the New Zealand beef industry with the strong maternal traits of Red Devons being recognized alongside comparable beef breeds. “Angus has such a strong foothold within the industry, so it’s whether people are willing to try something else. We just think Red Devon is a very under utilised breed, when we’ve seen how they work for us.”