For four years Peter and Jackie Hill have been successfully managing operations on Dawsonvale in Taroom for the Pearson family, under their Bull Creek Pty Ltd banner, where a pure Santa Gertrudis article is fattened and sold into the organic grassfed market.
Dawsonvale lies on 10,121 hectares of undulating brigalow scrub country where the cattle predominantly graze on buffel and tracts of natural grasses.
The Hills are currently running a 3878-head herd of Santa Gertrudis on the property, which is used as an organic grassfed fattening property where they receive young steers and cull females, and take them through to meatworks weights.
“The ability of the Santa to perform in a variety of seasonal and climatic conditions makes them the ideal for use here,” Peter said.
“These traits have helped keep the prices we receive relatively strong throughout the dry conditions we’ve been experiencing in recent years,” he said.
Bulls are joined with the females from January to April each year, with the aim being to produce an organic grassfed article which is sold directly to Arcadian Organic and Natural Meat Company in Toowoomba, from where it enters the Australian, American and Chinese organic markets.
He said when the Pearsons purchased Dawsonvale in August, 2014, they quickly gained organic certification.
“Their business is largely based in the west, so all of their cattle are out of the ticks which made it an easy choice for them to go organic and gain access to the premiums that come with producing organic cattle.
“Bull Creek Pty Ltd was actually one of the first operations to receive certification to sell into China throughout the entire organic cattle industry.”
He said they aim to sell milk to four tooth bullocks for these markets at 350kg dressed, and cows at 300kg dressed.
“When conditions improve we’ll likely start selling fat spayed heifers as well.”
Peter said bulls are only bought externally every now and then to rejuvenate the stud herd.
“The Pearsons registered Bull Creek as stud #381 in 1969, so the bulls we use over the commercial cows are bred in-house.
He said there are a wide variety of Santa bloodlines in the sires of the homegrown bulls, including genetics from breed developer King Ranch, Yarrawonga, and Ravensbourne, among others.
“We’ve enjoyed a long association with the Pearsons, as Jackie’s parents Dale and Carmel Collins managed properties for them from 1982 to 2004 and retired from there.”
Peter said when they aren’t working the cattle, Jackie and himself like taking their children Jaiden and Reegan to football and/or cricket fixtures at which they compete at a junior level.
“We also enjoy attending horse events such as campdrafting, where we recently got to see Jaiden win the ACA Juvenile Campdraft title for 2017-18.”