While growing lucerne and forage crops on their 350 acre Boyne Valley property is the main source of income for Hyblah Hay business owners Kelvin, Skyann and Adrian Peters, Brahman-cross beef production is also proving to be a lucrative secondary income stream.
The trio purchased Hyblah in 2012 and are all heavily involved in the day-to-day running of all facets of the hay and cattle operations. The family supply feed for a few of the Rockhampton Brahman Week Sale vendors, who are among their many clients in the region.
With the hay business proving a success, they recently decided to pursue their expanding interest in cattle by buying another 900 acre block near Monto.
Kelvin said cattle production was always in mind, but after having mixed initial results, they decided to focus on creating a Brahman-based breeding herd.
“We’d bought some Brahman heifers, and we liked how they performed, but it wasn’t until we purchased our first Brahman bulls from the Rule family at Cleethorpes, that we really started to get the high Brahman content into our cattle,” he said.
“We’re now using another Brahman bull to continue developing and expanding our breeder herd.”
He said now that they’ve gotten enough Brahman content into their breeders they are now using Simmental bulls in the operation to create a cross which packs on weight quicker.
“The first cross Simbrah calves from this program have been on the ground for three months now, and we’re really happy with how they’re looking.
“In the short term we’ll continue to use the Brahman bull, and keep the heifers out of him to replace our older breeders.
“We like the Brahman breed because they’re a hardy animal, and if we can continue getting that high Brahman content in the heifers we won’t have to worry about them as much in regards to ticks and heat tolerance.
“We’re finding by crossing the Brahmans with the Simmentals, we get softer progeny but with the toughness of the Brahman intact.”
The family have been selling the weaner steers at 300kg to 400kg, and though Kelvin said the prices they’re receiving at the Monto Saleyards have backed off a bit due to the dry weather, they’re still very pleased with the return on investment.
“We’ve gradually increased our numbers, and now have 80 Brahman and Brahman-cross breeders at Hyblah and close to 70 more running on the other block.”
The family said they’re happy to stay the course with their current plan.
“It took us about five years to get the high Brahman content in our breeders, that was our initial aim, now our focus has shifted to the crossbreeding program.”
Skyann said for now they’ll be shifting the Brahman bull and the younger heifers over to the Monto block, and leaving the Simmental bull and the older breeders at Hyblah.
“When we wean we’ll bring the cattle at the Monto block back here, as we have the hay here to top them up and send them to the saleyards when they’re a bit bigger and better conditioned.”
She said they’ll monitor the cattle on both blocks in the short term, and possibly change up the plan depending on how they perform.
Kelvin said they’re happy with the outlook at Hyblah.
“Owning a property, you want to be able to use all your land efficiently and going into beef cattle is a good way to do that effectively.
“We really enjoy working with cattle as well, and possibly in the distant future we’ll look at focussing on cattle instead of hay, as there is quite a lot less work involved.”
It’s a true family affair for the Peters, with Kelvin and Skyann’s children Paige, Aislynn and Byron always keen to help out around the property.
“They love giving us a hand in the yards, and they also help us out with the hay production side of things.”