“Steady as she goes” is the mantra which has led to long-term success for Wakefield Charolais stud principals Greg and Jenny Frizell on their property situated 50 kilometres east of Armidale on the Waterfall Way in the Northern Tablelands of New South Wales.
The beef production bug runs strong through the bloodlines of the Frizell family with Greg and Jenny and their daughters Lucy and Clare marking the sixth and seventh generations of the family to run cattle on Wakefield since 1860.
The 1100 hectare property consists of basalt and basalt/trap soils of eastern fall country and is highly developed with improved pastures including a mixture of cocksfoot, fescues, ryegrasses, prairie grass and clovers which is fertilised regularly.
The Frizell’s run a dual commercial and stud operation which comprises 250 registered stud Charolais females, 100 registered Angus cows, and close to 200 Charolais/Angus-cross and Charolais/Shorthorn-cross cows in the commercial section of the business.
Greg said they switched to Charolais’ in 1970 due to their excellent crossbreeding capabilities with Euro breeds, great maturity patterns and the flexibility the breed provides.
“We can produce vealers and weaners through to Jap Ox, and their hybrid vigour is outstanding,” he said.
He said most of the commercial cattle go to feedlots, or are finished and sent to the abattoir as EU steers or Jap ox.
“Our commercial aim is to produce crossbred animals that will hit market specifications at any stage, and for our EU cattle to reach the fat specifications required with high yield.
“Performance recording is very important to us, we’ve been using Breedplan for nearly 17 years, and we have full data on all our animals which provides us with the information we need to deliver maximum growth and good calving ease.”
Greg said they use a lot of AI for breeding purposes and they continually select their best dam lines to put into embryo programs.
“We AI 80 per cent of our stud cows every year, we place a lot of emphasis on our female lines; if the cow herd is right the bulls will follow.”
He said running Wakefield keeps the family “pretty damn busy”, but the chance to meet a lot of people, and seeing how progeny of their cattle are performing in their herds is always “very pleasing”.
Adam and Belinda Chapman from The Junction, Fine Flower in the upper Clarence, north west of Grafton have been purchased eight Wakefield bulls since 2012 and have been highly impressed with their performance on-property.
The Chapman’s run a commercial operation with two main herds of F1 cows which are British Brahman cross all joined to Charolais bulls and a Hereford and Angus herd that are joined to Brahman Bulls.
Adam said the Charolais-cross progeny are a very saleable item and that they suit his F1 cows and the Northern Rivers country very well.
“They have great weight gain and are always my heaviest calves. The Charolais and Euro cross give tremendous hybrid vigour to my calves,” he said.
“The Wakefield bulls are quiet and easy to handle and never once put me out of the yard or tried to tip me off my horse.
“They are very functional cattle that have great doing ability and are easy to maintain and look after.”
He said the Wakefield bulls progeny are performing very well on the properties coastal native pasture.
Adam said the Frizell’s on-property sale at Wakefield has a good lineup of quality bulls to choose from, and said it’s very helpful that they offer free freight to major centres after the sale.
“They always offer great steak sandwiches and home baked treats which keeps me coming back,” he said with a smile.
“Greg and Jenny are genuine and friendly people that are passionate about the industry and Charolais cattle, they care and show interest about your own operations and want to ensure their bulls are working for you.
“Their lines of bulls seem to get better each year, they are obviously doing something right.”