With an aim to produce as much quality beef as possible, the Crowther family value add their cattle and finish their progeny through their 650-SCU accredited feedlot.
The family operation includes Sam and wife Heather, son Andrew and wife Katie, and encompasses three properties totaling 7500 hectares.
The home property is Harrow, Arcadia Valley which consists of 3500ha of quality brigalow softwood scrub country, and is used forcbreeding, backgrounding and finishing cattle through the feedlot.
Other properties are Prospect Park situated in the Bauhinia district and Spring Grove at Surat, and both run breeder cattle.
Overall, the Crowthers run 1500 breeders. The higher content Santa Gertrudis females are joined to Angus bulls, while the balance are Angus cross joined to Santa Gertrudis bulls.
“We aim to produce as much kilos of beef as we can when we load cattle up the loading ramp.” Andrew said.
The family join their Santa and Santa Angus cross breeders for five months at a joining ratio four per cent, under controlled mainting conditions, in order to achieve a higher calving rate.
As Andrew explained, where once they joined for a compact three month period, due to the drier weather in the past couple of years, they extended to five months.
“It really is better to have a calf than not,” Andrew said.
All calves are weaned in May and fed hay in the yards for a couple of days, before they are tailed out on to buffel and educated with horses for 10 days.
“It really is important to properly wean our calves by tailing them out and looking after them, as it gives us much quieter cattle,” Andrew said
“And they settle much better when placed into the feedlot.”
Before entering the feedlot, the lead of the steer portion is backgrounded on buffel then oats until late August.
The steers are then placed into the feedlot and finished at 100 days, weighing an average of 620kg.
In December they are marketed through contracts and/or 100day grain fed MSA grid prices to processors at 14 to 16-months-of-age, dressing out at 330kg average.
The top 30 percent of heifers are kept for replacement breeders selected on visual and conformation.
The balance of the yearling heifers are finished through the feedlot and contracted to Woolworths, which are processed at Ipswich under their MSA specifications.
“We believe it is so important to look after young cattle from day one and try to offer them no setbacks so they produce weight for age, which enhances good eating quality,” Andrew said
“The feedlot is a great paddock to have when seasons are tough, it helps with cash flow and enables us to run more breeders in our paddocks.”
When selecting bulls we like quiet, early maturing high growth moderate frame Santa Gertrudis and Angus.
“We normally spend an average of $6000 to secure the type of bull we are looking for,” he said.
“We like this cross for their consistency, as they are soft and fertile cattle with great doing ability,” Andrew said.