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“The Rise of the Ultrablacks” (5 April 2014)

The following is an excerpt from the Australian Brangus Journal Autumn 2014:

A new style of Brangus is being developed in Australia to help northern producers leverage off the powerful Angus brand and access additional markets in the south.

Among the breeders developing the Ultrablack in Australia are David & Prue Bondfield of Palgrove, a stud better known for its quality Charolais. Mr Bondfield sees the new breed as providing northern beef producers with a broader range of options to sell their cattle into southern premium markets.

The Bondfields’ Ultrablack journey began about five years ago when their Charolais clients were looking for a third breed option to use over their Charolais/Brahman replacement females. We saw real value in adding Brangus into the genetic mix and by limiting the Brahman content in the bulls, the resulting progeny would be fit well into southern premium markets. The bonus for producers is that Angus genetics can be maximised so that they are able to survive in hotter, more humid environments than purebred bulls. ┬áThe genetic combination of Brahman/Charolais/Angus also provides a huge boost in hybrid vigour, to maximise performance through this perfect crossbreeding equation.

The couple travelled to the USA four years ago and looked at Brangus cattle in southern states that had a similar climate to their commercial clients. They found that the Ultrablack retained the meat quality of an Angus but was more tolerant of heat and humidity than the Angus.

Since then, the Palgrove Ultrablack has been developed using a combination of Australian and US genetics from both the Angus and Brangus breeds. “This gives us a really good balance of constitution, breed character and a sleek skin with fine hair – that’s the advantage of using Australian genetics.”

Mr Bondfield said, “what we want to do is produce measured genetics with full performance records, particularly on carcass quality and weight gain, just like we do with the Charolais and that will enable us to look after our clients with the best options for their specific herds and markets.”