Obtaining the Certified Angus Beef brand and the premiums that come with the designation is the primary goal Steve and Grace Gray are currently striving for in their Brangus breeding operation, Wallebella, 20km south of Wallumbilla.
Pastures on Wallebella consists of mainly Brigalow/Belah and box, ironbark and pine in their red country. The property is watered by six flowing artesian bores, which Steve said provide the herd with plenty of water, even during the current ordinary conditions they’re contending within the region.
Along with their children, Archer, Nancy, and Tom, the family run 1000 to 1100 predominantly Red and Black Brangus females with high Angus content bulls on the 22,000 acre property.
“We’ve been using Angus bulls over our Brangus cows for close to eight years. They’re appealing to us because the breed society does a great job of marketing them, making them easy to sell,” Steve said.
“When you have McDonald’s and Hungry Jack’s fighting over them, it’s always a good thing being involved with the breed as a producer,” he said.
Generally, the Grays wean their calves on oats then send them to the local feedlots.
“We haven’t sold since August last year as the prices have gone back a bit, so we’re holding off and waiting for market values to rise again.
“We do diversify on occasion though; earlier last year we got caught a bit short on oats so we sold our lead weaners through the Roma Saleyards. But we always sell-on young, we don’t hang onto bullocks.”
Steve said they are in the midst of increasing the Angus content in the herd so that they can get into the Certified Angus Beef market.
“We generally get good prices for our steers, but if we can get the Certified Angus label, it’ll be a great advantage as we’ll be able to attract premium end of the market.”
To help towards this goal the Grey’s attended the Australian Topstock Barcaldine Bull Sale for the first time last year to select from the high-grade Southern Angus sires being offered.
“We bought eight bulls there last year, four each from Pathfinder and The Glen. We put them aside until October which is when we join, and they seemed to perform well, we’ll be preg testing the females they were put over soon to get a better indication of that though.
“The bulls we purchased at the Barcy sale are as good as you can get anywhere, and for what they offer we believe we got them at a good price, they’re all well-rounded beef animals with plenty of length, muscle, and moderate birth weights.
“We’ll be heading back there to see if we can pick up a few more at this year’s sale.”