Spectrum Farm – from Modest Beginnings to Star-Studded Breeding

In 1974 we purchased a small, run-down farm in southeastern Ohio, where the predominant forages were multiflora rose and poverty grass, totally without fences, barns, or other outbuildings. Over the next several years, we focused on land renovation and fence building and studied various breeds of beef cattle for suitability in our farming situation. We chose Murray Greys because they are renowned as productive, efficient and docile cattle, producing high-quality meat, and doing well in a grass-focused beef operation.

We purchased Katuna Courageous, affectionately known as "Corey" and brought him into the USA from Australia in 2001. His Breedplan® EBV’s place him in the top 20%, or better, of the breed, for these traits: 400-day-wt; 600-day-wt; mature cow wt; milk; scrotal size; days to calving; carcass wt; ribeye muscle area; percent retail beef yield and supermarket dollar index.

Since Corey is a double-double, each of his sons or daughters are guaranteed to inherit one copy each of the marbling gene and one copy of the tenderness gene, with the companion copy of each respective gene coming from the mother of the calf. Hence, all of Corey's offspring will be at least single-single, or heterozygous, for marbling and Calpastatin tenderness, as a minimum. More recently, we expanded Corey’s genetic profile, with additional testing for the second tenderness marker, Calpain (SNP316). This test revealed that he is heterozygous for the Calpain (SNP316) allele.

So with our core breeding herd plus Corey, our breeding program is achieving great results. To illustrate, Corey has sired the first USA-bred MG calf homozygous for all six stars, Spectrum Penny Royal. She will take her place among the breeding females of the farm’s brood cowherd based on Corey’s bloodlines, as the next generation of Spectrum high-tech breeding advances.

Since our farm size will always be small in acreage, we have developed and now maintain a high-quality purebred herd of about 20 brood cows, bringing in the best genetics of the MG breed from around the world. In choosing herd additions and in retaining animals from our calf crop in our herd, we appraise the complete animal, rather than focusing on a single characteristic or trait, choosing balanced, moderate framed, wellmuscled seed stock, with correct leg structure, ample pelvic or scrotal size, and with good growth potential, that haven’t sacrificed proportionality, size, scale, and structural soundness. In short, we look to optimize the desired beef cattle traits and are not maximizing a single trait.

When the initial GeneSTAR® tests became available in the USA, we had Corey’s DNA marker-tested using Genetic Solutions’ USA lab, for Marbling and for the initial GeneSTAR Tenderness marker (Calpastatin). Much to our delight, Corey was identified as one very special bovine, a "Double–Double," a double homozygous bull for the favourable genes of meat marbling and tenderness.

In addition, we have had our existing breeding herd tested for Marbling and Tenderness, now available through Bovigen Solutions. As the chart and table illustrate, our herd is star-studded with favourable alleles (GeneSTARs):

John and Mary Ellen Wozny
Spectrum Farm, P. O. Box 112, Coolville, OH 45723
phone and fax 740-667-6191
email wozny@frognet.net

We invite you to add Spectrum Farm Murray Grey genetics to your herd. Livestock, semen and embryos are available – just contact us: