NORTHERN cattle producers John and Sally Turley made their first trip to the February All Breeds Bull and Female Sale in Rockhampton last year.
They were looking for bulls from the diverse range of breeds on offer to put over a mob of Charbray cows on their 36,000 acre Durdham Downs Station 110km north west of Clermont.
Durdham's pulled Gidyea buffel country carries around 5000 to 6000 head and is used as a fattening block for the steers they breed in the north. The weaner steers are carried through to bullocks at Durdham, and turned off as Jap Ox, usually to the processors in Rockhampton or Mackay.
The Turleys live at Wandovale Station, 220km northwest of Charters Towers, in the basalt country. Sally said they purchased most of the bulls needed for their predominantly Brahman breeder herd from the Charters Towers stud sales and out of the paddock from bull breeders in northern and central Queensland.
“But about eight or nine years ago, we decided to breed a few bulls ourselves for some of our first calf heifers, so we headed down to the Brisbane Valley to buy Charolais bulls to lift weights in their progeny,” she said.
Within a couple of years, this evolved into the hardier Charbray bulls and now they’re interested to see how some of the other crosses might perform.
“Our project has been working quite well, so we decided to go to the February All Breeds Sale to have a good look at the Simmental, Simbrah and Romagnola bulls on offer there last year.
“We’d been observing these breeds for a few years and thought they might go well over our cattle. We don't mind mixing the breeds up a bit if it produces a softer, heavier, more fertile animal as a result.”
The Turleys sent a draft of seven bulls to Durdham Downs from the 2017 sale, which included the purchase of Lucrana L03 (P), for $9500, from Andrew Moore and Karen Britton, Lucrana Simmentals, Texas.
“We were impressed with how he was presented, and we really had to compete to get him. We also bought some Romagnola bulls from Ron and Dianne Pullen's Codrilla stud.
We’re looking forward to seeing how the progeny from these bulls develop in the next 12 to 18 months. If they perform well for us we’ll be repeat buyers down the track, as we thought overall, the sale represented good bull-buying value for money.”
She said when they’re bidding on bulls at stud sale’s they're always looking for scale and generous EMA measurements, tidy sheaths, mobility and good semen morphology results.
“We also prefer animals that haven't been fed too much as those animals find it harder to make the transition into work.”
The Turleys normally supply the northern and central processors, but have supplied bullocks to live exporters to help fill heavy boat orders.
Sally said their long-term goal is to consistently produce an annual line of bullocks that averaged four teeth and dressed over 300kg.
“That has been a harder target in the dry, but hopefully we’ll get a couple of good wet seasons now to balance that out," she said.