Rupari Blondes - Unpublished Article
Below is an Article prepared in January 2015 for publishing in "The Blonde Connection", but it was deemed Not Suitable for Publication; with no consultation with the author. Hence we have published the same article here so those who are interested can make up their own mind about whether the authors opinions were so problematic as to be detrimental to the magazine or the breed. The purpose of the article was to draw attention to things which, with some improvement, would add to the quality of the product and appeal of the breed within the Australian beef industry. You be the judge. Any comments are welcome.
Outlook for Blondes
What can be done to improve the outlook for the Blonde d’Aquitaine breed?
Breedplan has been available since the late 1980’s. The mainstream beef breeds in Australia have all embraced Breedplan – WHY – because it helps breeders and buyers to get more information on their animals of interest. It’s like buying a box of breakfast cereal; we want to know and compare the contents of one cereal versus another. It’s a basic tenet of life in this technological age: collect as much information as you can about whatever is your area of interest. For Blondes, to be able to compete and gain some ground from the major and competing breeds, we must, at least, be able to provide the same type of comparable data as the other breeds do. It’s a mark of our attention to detail and professionalism. As a Blonde breeder, I implore other breeders to embrace Breedplan, if not for you, for the future competitiveness of the breed.
Blondes are unique. They offer excellent muscling and a fine bone structure which adds value to the animal, its progeny, and adds value in terms of sale-able cuts. They generally have good calving ease and excellent temperament. Commercial breeders can use these traits plus hybrid vigour to make more money. While Blonde breeders are very strongly breeding to maintain these attributes, they do need to be vigilant about the latter two.
Testicle size is one feature of Blondes that breeders and buyers do need to look at, even though small testi size is becoming more uncommon. In the past there has been varied attention placed on selection for testicle size in Blonde bulls. The science is irrefutable. Bigger testis means more cows that can be joined in a fixed joining period, and, heifer progeny are more fertile. Bulls with small testis need to be culled (not sold cheaply) and the stories from the show ring about how testi size in Blondes doesn’t matter need to be strongly refuted.
An issue for breeders and the future of Blondes is how we determine what to sell as a breeder (male or female) to other potential breeders. The philosophy that states “I shall only sell to others what I would be happy to breed from myself,” is a very good starting point. We are often drawn to sell less desirable animals for well above meat value, but at a discount to our better sale stock, by the desire for financial gain. But those purchasing these animals will always be aware that they have something ‘average’ or less. The premise is that they will never be entirely happy with what they have, despite paying less for it. We put our name and the name of the breed to everything we sell – let it be animals we are proud of.
The Blonde Society Herdbook, or pedigree recording system, has been bubbling along quietly for many years. All members have a responsibility to ensure the accuracy of the pedigrees they record, and are actually accountable for the overall integrity of the Herdbook. We all believe in it as the ‘gospel’. What we don’t have in this system are the checks, safeguards and monitoring processes to act as disincentives for anything that may be less accurate. Equally, these would provide a monitoring system to let us know if there are problems, or if our confidence in the Herdbook accuracy is justified. Our leadership group is ultimately accountable for the accuracy of the Herdbook. We look forward to some action to build confidence in this system.
I have been known to ‘butcher’ famous quotes, but this one is probably a doozey! In the mangled words of JFK : “Think not what your Breed Society can do for you; but what you can do for your Breed Society.” Simply, we need more participation from members with goodwill. If you think you get nothing for your membership, then possibly, a different view would be – what and how can I give to the Blonde breed.
The contribution of Blondes to the Australian beef industry has great promise. Blondes have exactly what is needed in the drive for more sale-able meat per carcass with less waste from trimmed fat or discarded bone. Blondes will be “discovered” eventually. As Blonde breeders we do need to improve our marketing skills, and show we are genuine, honest, and knowledgeable about the contribution Blondes can make to beef production in Australia.
Rupari Polled Blondes
Comment on this article - Quote via Facebook - 5 January 2016
"I like the article in the (Rupari Blondes) Blog. True words that should be read by every Blond(e) breeder around the world".
Blonde d'Aquitaine Breeder, Waizenkirchen, Austria.
"I read the article that your Society didn't publish on your web-site. It says it all in my eyes. I hope to make reference to it at some of our (British Blonde) Society Council meetings. I think it is all quite relevant to the Society and its members here."
Ivanisky Blondes, Dromara, Co Down, Ireland.