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19 January, 2021

Larrikin Speckle Park breeder goes viral on TikTok

BLUE Mountain farmer Travis Parry has unintentionally become a social media sensation.


BLUE Mountain farmer Travis Parry has unintentionally become a social media sensation.

The 28-year-old larrikin caught up with The Rural Leader recently, from a very wet, Blair Plains, southwest of Mackay, following a soaking of 300-odd millimetres over the Christmas and New Year period.

Travis has an incredible 56,000 followers on TikTok and his videos have received over one million likes.

And it is not hard to see why.

Travis’ videos feature snippets of life from his family’s gorgeous North Queensland property.

Set amongst the rolling mountains and green luscious paddocks, Travis breeds his “grass puppies” (a social media term for cattle for those unfamiliar with TikTok) and shares the trials and tribulations – mostly humorous - from his day-to-day life on the land.

It is an insight into farm life most people wouldn’t get to experience unless they live on the land.

But how this handsome and (yes ladies, he is single) farmer approaches social media is quite unique – he is completely real and transparent.

“The first video I put up was of my brand new tractor – I was three hours into using it I’d run over a tree stump and had to replace a $1,500 tyre. I thought it was funny, it got 100 likes or so,” Travis described.

“I noticed people were calling their cows grass puppies and I’ve got Speckles that come up for a pat, so I started posting videos of them and they got a few likes.”

But he admits he doesn’t recall the specific moment when he realised his content was starting to go viral.

“It really took off when people were in lockdown (due to COVID-19) and I was looking at a lot of videos of how people’s lives had changed, and I was thinking our world hadn’t changed at all.

“It was harder for us to get parts on time, but our life was pretty much the same, so I started sharing videos of what I was doing on the farm each day and people really like seeing the cattle.

“People are glued to the internet these days and I try and offer an escape from the reality.”

Travis admits he doesn’t get a lot of time to engage with his followers.

“Sometimes people message and sometimes I see it and sometimes I don’t, but I’m a big figure in their online world, I’m at their dining table and people are talking about what I’ve been up to,” he said.

“People have stopped me in the street because they have recognised me. I was at the servo in Sarina the other day and I don’t have a clue who they are, but people come up to me and say they know me from TikTok.

“It’s weird because some people don’t know how to approach you – sometimes they just stare and I’m wondering if they are staring because I’ve left my fly open or because they follow me,” he laughed.

Travis is a firm believer in controlling the vibe on his social media channels and is quick to remove negative comments from his videos.

“If I see anything I don’t like or someone wants to have a go at me, there’s a button to block, there’s a button to delete and there’s a button to remove,” he said.

He gets a lot of satisfaction from his page and enjoys bringing joy to social media.

“What has been awesome through the whole lockdown is that people will send a message and say my content brings a lot of enjoyment,” he said.

“I’m just some random bloke on a block of land in North Queensland, talking to my calf out of the buggy and someone in Canada is watching and getting joy out of it.”

But Travis doesn’t only strive to entertain his viewers – he also likes to educate them about farming practices too.

Behind the scenes of TikTok, this funny and clever farmer, has big plans for his family’s 1,300-acre block.

The Speckle Park grass puppies aren’t just there to look pretty.

Traditionally, Blair Plains ran Droughtmasters, Brahmans and Brangus cattle.

Travis came across Speckle Parks about seven years ago and while his dad wasn’t too keen on a “fad type of animal”, more research into the breed and market conditions proved they would be worth-whiling pursuing.

“When I started to take over the management of the property a few years ago, I wanted to change things up a bit,” he said.

“I wanted to set ourselves up with some sort of uniqueness, not demand things like Wagyu, but have something different to offer.”

And the Speckle Park breed is continuing to go from strength to strength.

In October 2020, New South Wales producer Dale Humphries of Wattle Grove, set a new world record for the price of a Speckle Park bull - Wattlegrove Paperboy sold to a top price of $68,000 at their on-property sale.

“And that’s a really positive sign,” Travis said.

“A lot of the sales I have attended in person or online – the clearance rate is right up there – a bull or two might be withdrawn, but they seem to be getting sold straight after the auction.

“The demand for purebred females is tenfold. The supply to demand is tenfold. We would love to get in a few more purebreds, but it is hard to justify $10,000 for a 12-month-old heifer.

“But it just goes to show there is so much demand and people really want to get into it and if you can get the embryo game worked out, you’re on your way.”

Travis’ pipedream for the next decade is to have an in-demand, well-establish Speckle Park stud producing the right type of animal for the North.

They currently have around 200 breeders and calves, including F1 and F2 calves and a handful of F3 calves.

“At the end of the day we want to be breeding adapted and suitable bulls for this northern climate,” he said.

“The animal needs to be able to contend with buffalo fly. It is about trying to find the right type with a sleek coat, and the Speckle Parks have that heavier Angus genetic in there.

“They have Shorthorn as well which is good for milking and motherhood.

“On the bull side of things people used to go for the big Brahmans and Santas but a lot of herds are looking for that medium frame type.”

But at the end of the day, Travis said, it really comes down to producing a high-quality beef product people want on their dinner tables.

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