The 4000km round trip stud Charolais breeder Roderick Binny, Glenlea Beef, made from his property in northern NSW to deliver a late Christmas present to Prairie-based commercial Charbray producer Barbara Davison was an act of generosity she said she won’t soon forget.
The act of kindness came out of a moment of tragedy when a sire Barbara purchased from Glenlea at a sale held in Emerald in June last year was taken home and found dead a few months later with a broken leg, “presumably from a broken back leg after fighting with other bulls”, she thinks.
“At the sale it was announced that if anything happened to any of the Glenlea bulls being offered, they could be replaced within two years, but the agreement didn’t include the bull being injured or dying from fighting,” she said.
“This left me in a bit of a situation as prior to the sale I’d drafted off 50 Charbray cows to be used with him in a single sire breeding operation, so I put another bull I had on-hand in with them.
“I rang Roderick to let him know about the unfortunate news, and a couple of days later he rang me back and let me know he had a spare bull, Glenlea Louis (P), which is of equal quality to the bull I lost, which he was happy to loan to me during my December to late March/early April joining period.”
When Roderick made the gesture Barbara said her reaction was along the lines of “Holy, wow!, this is amazing”.
“It’s not very often you come cross a bull breeder who offers something like that.”
Barbara said she quickly took her bull out of the paddock and waited while Roderick made the trek from NSW on Christmas Day and arrived at her breeding block, Moondah, with Louis on December 28.
“When Roderick arrived and we opened the gate for the Louis, he took one look at the cows, looked away, and stubbornly sat on the truck, so we had to encourage him into the paddock with a bucket of water,” Barbara said with a laugh.
She said he’s now in with the females, and is doing a great job.
“From this operation the three-quarter Charolais Bull calves that make the mark will be sold as herd bulls on-farm while females will be put in the breeding herd.”
Barbara currently runs close to 800 breeders and their progeny on the 21,045ha Moondah block, with steers and cull heifers put into her 12,140ha property, Maranie, near Stamford, where they’re fattened and sold-on.
“We focus on crossing Brahman breeders with Charolais bulls, as we require the natural resilience of the Brahman in our country, and the Charolais adds frame, weight and great temperament, in the Charbray progeny.
“We trialled other breeds but the Brahman/Charolais-cross is working well so my though is, when you’re onto a good thing, stick with it.”
She said heavy feeder steers are sold into the live export market, while finished bullocks and cull cows are sent to the meatworks.
“Depending on orders and prices being offered, we also sometimes sell softer steers into the feedlot market.”
She said quiet cattle are essential in the operation.
“We have a program in place with the weaners. After they come off hay, they’re drafted, tailed and played with for four days and any that show signs of having a bad temperament are given a tag, and are sold off as quickly as possible.
“This culling program is definitely working, we started off with a couple of decks of weaners and we’re now down to about 20.
“I have daughters and grandkids who come and assist me in the paddock when needed, so we simply don’t have room for any cranky cattle in the yard.”
A draft of eight first-rate sire prospects will be offered by Glenlea Beef at the February All Breeds Bull and Female Sale, appearing in lots 406 to 413.