A change from selling feeder weight cattle to weaner steers and heifers is paying-off for a southern Queensland commercial cattle producer.
David Wells with his family run a property called Golden Arrow at Hannaford and also have a second property situated between Talwood and Weengallon called Totara. Both properties total 8100 hectares and the Wells family run 1000 cows across the two holdings.
Mr Wells said the cattle operation sell their weaner cattle on AuctionsPlus and are achieve good prices for their cattle.
In a recent sale this month, they sold 70 steers to $1105/head at an average weight of 284kg and another mob of 70 steers for $925/head to average 228kg on the same day.
“When you’re selling cattle at good prices with cash flow 12 months in advance from when selling feeder weight cattle it’s a good business decision and a real benefit to our cattle operation,” Mr Wells said.
A move towards an Angus based cow herd has also helped achieve success in the young cattle market, according to Mr Wells.
“Our direction is to head towards a 100 per cent Angus herd,” he said.
At present the Wells family have a 90pc Angus cow herd with the remaining a mix of composite Droughtmaster-cross females.
“It won’t take long for us to become a 100pc Angus cow herd once the replacement heifers start coming through,” Mr Wells said.
“Our change to selling weaners was motivated by the strong young cattle market prices and restockers were clearly looking for good quality weaner cattle.
“In addition, we’re in a good location to sell weaners on AuctionsPlus because of access to both Queensland and northern New South Wales cattle markets with demand coming from buyers in both States for our Angus cattle.
“Our properties are also surrounded by oats growing country, so there’s plenty of local demand for our weaners from those cattle producers as well.
“Admittedly, the oats crops haven’t kicked away as well this year as last year, but the sale of our weaners are still going well.”
The marketability of the Angus cattle breed was also very attractive to the Wells family after making the decision to sell cattle straight off cows as weaners.
“With the young eastern cattle indicator falling recently, due to slightly lower weaner cattle prices, we have still been able to achieve a sale price premium for our Angus cattle,” Mr Wells said.
“Another major benefit from our Angus cattle is their naturally high fertility traits and ease of calving for our cows.
“We expect to always maintain a calving percentage above 90 per cent.”
The Wells family also join 120 to 150 head of maiden heifers each year to leased Wagyu bulls, which are sold into a F1 Wagyu-cross export beef program.
“After a three month joining period our maiden heifers are given a further three months and then pregnancy tested with anything not in-calf sold as a cull heifer.”
The Wells family’s maiden heifers achieved a 94pc calving rate this year to Wagyu bulls.
Water telemetry system
A remote water monitoring system across the Wells family’s two properties has helped reduce labour and mineral supplementation costs.
David Wells, Golden Arrow, Hannaford said the automated communication telemetry system measurements water tank levels and flows.
“The data is collected at each water point across the properties and transmitted to receiving equipment for monitoring on my mobile phone,” Mr Wells said.
“They tell me what level our water tank levels are and the water flows as well.”
Mr Wells noted it didn’t completely stop them checking waters troughs, but it gives them “peace of mind” all watering points were continually monitored.
“The best part of the telemetry water system is our ability to now quickly identify any issues needing to be fixed,” he said.
“It also reduces the labour intensive nature of continually checking waters.
“It’s good to know when you are busy in the cattle yards in 40 degree plus heat you don't have to worry about going to the back paddock and checking if the water is ok.”
The telemetry water system has also enabled the Wells family to use an in-water liquid mineral livestock supplement.
“By knowing our water flows we can easily set the amount of liquid supplement required at different times of the year to achieve optimal nutritional health of our cattle.”