Apsley Cattle Company, owned and operated by the Dyer family, have shifted their focus over the last several years to concentrate solely on breeding high Brahman content Brangus cattle.
The operation is split over two properties with Chris and Jill Dyer on the 15,925 hectare Stainburn Downs, 20km west of Aramac, which usually carries 1300 to 1400 breeders and maiden heifers. Chris’s brother Michael and his wife Leigh operate the 8400 hectare Bloomfield Station 30km east of Alpha, with their mother Beryl.
“We conduct the breeding operations at Stainburn, keep the maiden heifers on property and move the weaners to Bloomfield were they are grown out and sold on to the meatworks as Jap Ox steers,” Chris said.
He said they’ve been getting good returns on their steers at the meatworks over the last couple of years, but is mindful that when the national herd numbers go up that the price might slide.
Chris said the family got into Brangus breeding close to 20 years ago as they noticed they were “getting reasonable money and topping some of the sales”.
While they tried several breed crosses over the years, they’ve gradually phased them all out and settled on Brangus production.
“Until recently we also used Brahmans, so we now look to buy hardier type Brangus bulls with 50 to 60 per cent Brahman content to ensure the toughness of that breed remains in our herd.
“It’s easier to get a better looking line of cattle with Brangus; we try to breed them black as that seems to be popular at present.”
The Dyer’s usually try to control mate from January to April, but due to the dry weather much of the region is currently experiencing most of their herd are on agistment.
“Before the dry hit we had an 87pc calving rate so we’re happy with the fertility of the breed.
“We preg tested our first calf heifers a few days ago and they came back with a 90pc conception rate so we’re very happy with that.”
Chris said in their breeding program the aim is to produce early maturing heifers with good growth and fertility rates and a bit of scale.
“Medium cows in the 500-550kg live weight range are good for us. We also try to purchase poll bulls where possible so we gradually increase the poll percentage of the entire herd.”
To assist with this the family have been repeat buyers at the ABCA Rockhampton Brangus Sale over the years and have purchased a many bulls there.
“The variety of bulls available at the Rocky sale is great, and we always seem to get the ones we want within our price range.”