Lush green paddocks spurred on by 600mm of rain since Summer began has Boreren-based beef producers Ray and Nadine Crawford in great spirits.
Ray said the conditions stand in stark contrast to what they were dealing with at this time last year across their properties situated in the Gladstone region.
“We had dry dams and the cattle were in bad shape, so the rain we received has been an incredible blessing,” he said.
From their 250 acre home block Turkey, the Crawfords feed up their weaners for three months, the steers are then sent to Lillymont, their bullock breeding block, while the heifers go to the breeding blocks at Mt Elrose and McAuliff.
“We currently have close to 130 bullocks and 550 breeders in the herd, but we don’t hold onto the progeny for long as we’ve been getting very solid prices for young cattle in recent times.
“We mainly sell through the Miriam Vale Saleyards where we’ve been getting up to $750 per head for black weaner heifers, and we’ve also been getting solid returns at the open auctions at the Gin Gin Saleyards.
“We sell the bullocks to JBS Rockhampton and take steers to Gracemere a couple of times each year.”
Ray said being a “coasty” it’s important to have cattle that do well in the lighter country and can handle the ticks and flies, which is why he’s always primarily used Brahmans.
“We do also cross our high Brahman content females with Euro breeds like Angus and Charolais, as we’re trying to diversify to chase the weaner market, and these crosses make for attractive feeder type cattle.”
He said his main objective is to constantly try to improve the quality of his Brahman herd.
“We have close to 40 stud heifers at present, and when we attend stud sales we’re looking to buy quiet, bulls and females with good length and bone.
“We also look to buy polls where possible so we can eventually mainly breed our own in-house, which will save some money.”
He said they source a lot of their bulls at RBWS, and in recent years they’ve been finding solid success with the heifers they’ve purchased at the Rocky All Stars Elite Brahman Female Sale.
“The diversity of the bloodlines you can access at the All Stars sale is great, there always seems to be a new vendor offering a draft there each year.
“We took home a draft of four females last year and five in 2016, which are all performing very well within our operation.”
Ray said compared to last year, life is relatively very good at present.
“The market has been good and the season has been great, we don’t have much to complain about.”