For close to a century, the Wason family have been using Herefords in their commercial breeding and fattening operation which is spread out across their properties situated in the Maranoa region.
Scott and Donna Wason and sons Andrew, Dougal and Nick run the operation from their home property, ‘Orange Grove’, north east of Roma.
The land owned by the Wason family runs from flatter farm soil through to mountainous basalt country.
“Our main hub is to the north east of Roma where we also grow wheat and oats to assist our cattle operation,” Scott said.
“Our oats are grazed to fatten and finish our sale cattle. We sell the majority of our wheat commercially and store grain on hand as backup in case of drought for stock feed,” he said.
The Wason’s run a breeding herd which is about two thirds purebred Hereford, while Santa Gertrudis and Santa Gertrudis-Cross make up the rest of the herd.
Scott said the ongoing aim within the operation is to produce a calm, quiet, uniform Hereford herd that the family can maintain easily, and can slowly continually improve on.
“We really like Herefords for their lovely temperament, they’re ideally suited to our breeding program, and they’re also very adaptable.”
He said as they’re chasing the MSA and EU premium, they endeavour to sell their progeny when they make bullock weight.
“For this reason it’s important for us to grow them out as quickly as possible. Our focus is also to grow out our culled heifers to meet the MSA and EU market.”
Scott said while that is their ongoing aim, seasonal conditions don’t always allow for that.
“We had a couple of small falls earlier in the year which allowed us to grow some oats and we planted some late wheat on minimal rain in July.”
“It hasn’t been the easiest of seasons, and like everyone else, we’re hoping we’ll get a break in the weather soon.”
To improve the genetic composition of their herd, Scott said the family often purchase new sires from the annual Roma Poll Hereford Bull Sale held in September.
“The sires we purchase at the sale are put with our top cows for the future breeding of our own herd bulls.”
He said through improvements to their bloodlines by bulls purchased at the Roma sale they’ve been able to achieve easy calving ability.
The bulls we’ve bought in have contributed to reduced calving losses as well as improved structure, shape and capacity in our cattle.
“We don’t chase bulls from specific studs at the sale, we just look for quiet bulls with bloodline traces to benefit our herd.”