Norfolk Blue’s concept of paddock to plate has been taken to new heights. We can now truly claim that we manage our beef from conception to plate even to the extent that our employees recently assisted with the conception of beef which will be presented in our restaurant in two plus year’s time (click here to view a gallery of images about our AI program).
In October, we commenced our first AI program with a view of injecting greater productivity into our beef. We carefully chose a line of beef which would not disrupt the unique genetic qualities of the Norfolk Blue herd. After several years of discussions with Jon Wright, CootaPark, he selected Coota Park E E410 (DWJ E410) Blue-E bull, (an Angus Shorthorn cross) was selected as the perfect match to meet our production objectives.
The program commenced in October 2011 with the necessary preparatory work with the herd and on the 24th October (after an initial 28 hour flight delay) Jon flew into Norfolk and within 1 hour of landing was out at the crush inseminating the first of our cows and heifers to come on heat. Over the next 3 days, the entire herd was inseminated. To avoid calving problems with our heifers, Jon selected a pure Angus Booroomooka Astron D337 ( NGM D337) bred by Booroomooka Angus Stud on the recommendation by Dick Whale from Wangaratta. The Angus Bull has been selected to participate in Angus Australia’s progeny test program. The progeny from the heifers will be presented in the restaurant in 2013/14.
In true Norfolk Blue style, our staff, who we regard as our extended family, took great interest in the process. Front of house staff Ashley Collyer and Kerrie Dandy helped out initially in the task of reuniting the calves with their mothers and later assisting with the removal of the CIDR’s (controlled internal drug release) part of the process used to assist with synchronisation, by literally getting their hands (and other parts) dirty from the vagaries of the task.
Our initial indications are that we have achieved 60% plus success rate, which is extremely pleasing particularly given the obstacles that needed to be overcome along the way. There were many nail biting times when we thought the program would fail. Our heartfelt thanks go to the many people who helped us overcome each obstacle along the way who include our local vet Candice Snell who was there for us every step of the way, local quarantine and immigration officers Snowy, Kevin and Possum, Bart Murray and his team at Burnt Pine Freight, Debbie and her helpers at Holbrook Breeders, all the people at Gene Movers who Debbie pestered to ensure the flask arrived on time, Annie Reen owner of Karoo Angus, Bathurst for the loan of the insemination guns, and last but not least Jon Wright who has the foresight to see and appreciate what we are trying to achieve at Norfolk Blue and has over several years, been a tower of strength, support and encouragement and has become a very special friend in our lives.
Please take the time to view a gallery of images about our AI program by clicking here.