Mick and Amanda Gittens have been successfully running a predominantly Brahman and Simmental commercial breeding program at the 14,800 acre Poinsetta, five kilometres north of Rubyvale, for 12 years.
Poinsetta is part of larger scale family operation which also encompasses the 10,800 acre Carbine, situated 65km south of Clermont, run by Perry and Judy Gittens, and the 17,000 acre Carliene, located 110km south-west of Clermont, which Perry oversees. Mick also a runs bulldozer hire company with his brother Ian.
“Carliene and Poinsetta are chiefly used as breeding blocks, though we carry in-season steers and heifers at Poinsetta as well. The progeny produced at these two properties are sent to Carbine, where they’re grown out for the feeder and live export markets,” Mick said.
He said in their program, which is approximately 65 per cent Brahman to 35pc Simmental, the aim is to keep the hair off the cattle they produce.
“They end up too soft for our country if they’re too hairy, so we cross the Simmental bulls with the Brahman cows to keep the ticks off and the heat down, while retaining the superior weight gains, fertility, carcase yield and temperament qualities that the Simbrah progeny provide.”
He said the Simbrahs are then crossed back with Brahman bulls for increased hardiness.
“At Carbine we grow out the steers to 400kg to 520kg live weight and all cull heifers are spayed and grown out to 350kg to 420kg for the feeder market, while our high Brahman content heifers are sold to the live export market.
During stud sales Mick said he looks for quiet bulls with good length and overall smoothness.
“A Simmental’s ability to walk is another big facet we look for when making our purchases.”
He said they’ve been getting good results from bulls they’ve bought from Rodney and Lis Skene at Meldon Park Simmentals.
“We took home three of their bulls from their Moura sale last year including the 2016 Ekka Reserve Senior Champion Meldon Park Kustom Made, who is doing a really good job for us. We find the Skene’s breed excellent tropical style Euro bulls.
Mick said it’d been very dry on-property up until March, when they received good rain which in turn gave them a good body of feed.
“Our numbers are back on what we usually carry, the situation is improving now, but we’ll give our paddocks a bit of time to recover before we start increasing the herd size again.”
He said even through the hard times he hasn’t lost his passion for beef production.
“It’s a lifestyle I’ve enjoyed my whole life, and I’m want our kids to enjoy the same freedom and great environment as they grow up, and of course, we want to keep breeding good bullocks.