For close to 10 years the Holden family at Old Bonalbo in northern New South Wales have found Brangus to be an ideal fit for their country and commercial production objectives.
Boyd and Leisa Holden run 500 Brangus and Angus females, along with 120 replacement heifers over four properties totalling 3500 acres, with the assistance of their children Hughie, Archie, Elsie and Harry.
Leisa said they purchased Oakbank and The Glen at Old Bonalbo, 16 and nine years ago respectively, and that they also have another lease block in the area. Hillview situated in Woodenbong, NSW, was purchased two years ago.
"Oakbank and The Glen are all cleared country, and a large percentage of that land is being used as farmland, and also features improved pastures," she said.
"Alluvial creek flats on these properties can also be irrigated with an irrigation license at The Glen, with water pumped by a bore and underground mains throughout the property allowing for ease of irrigation and development.
"Open ridges are fertilised and pasture improved as required.
"Hillview is partially cleared as it was purchased as an ex-plantation block. Clearing and development on this farm is continuing. Their are no creek flats on this farm and no irrigation at present."
Leisa said oats and ryegrass are currently planted on all three farms, and combined comprise of 520 acres in winter feed.
"In a normal, non-drought year we have a farming system which involves growing soybean and corn during the summer months and winter feed in the winter.
"We've grown winter cereals and pulses however our overall system works better when we grow feed for stock in winter and grain crops in the summer.
"We make hay during winter and summer if we have surplus feed, and we also grow lucerne on 40 acres of creek flats which is irrigated and either made into hay, or alternatively, it can be selectively grazed."
Boyd said between the months of August to November the Brangus and Angus breeders are joined with Brangus, Ultrablack and Angus bulls, with the bull chosen being dependant on the content of the cow.
"We use the Brangus bulls over the females to produce a weaner with approximately 20 per cent Brahman content. We've found that these specific cross progeny perform well on our country especially in some of the rougher areas, and on the lease block.
"The Brangus are great foragers but also have to ability to perform on our better country. They also perform well during high pressure tick times.
He said high conception rates and the recent drought has proved to the family how well the cows have done in very tough times.
"For us, low birth weights, high growth rates, are priorities and high fertility and great temperament are essential.
"It's important to us for our kids to be able to work with the cattle in the yards and be safe and confident."
Boyd said within the operation it's crucial that calves are able to reach target weight of 280-320kg at weaning time in a normal season, as the majority of the progeny are sold at this weight and age into the feedlots or through AuctionsPlus.
He said the family has been focussing heavily on breeding an ideal Ultrablack type through trialling Angus x Brangus crosses for many years.
"We aim to have an animal that performs well in the varying conditions across our properties, and has great eating quality for the consumer."
To bolster the Brangus bloodlines running through their herd the family have been buying bulls from Brangus and Ultrablack seedstock producers Euan Murdoch and Nick Cameron at Nindooinbah, Beaudesert, Queensland.
Boyd said the Nindooinbah bulls have performed really well in their herd and they've been pleased with the calves they've produced.
"The replacement heifers grow well and are good quality cows when they calve out.
"We choose bulls that can be used over heifers, and with our cows.
"We've been buying from Nooindinbah for more than six years and will continue to source high quality genetics through those guys.
"Their support and dedication to improving the breed and the genetics is second to none."
Leisa said the majority of their farming operations, from mustering to irrigating, is done together as a family.
"The kids spend many hours in the tractor with me, or mustering and irrigating with Boyd.
"All four kids play football for the Kyogle Turkeys which keeps our Saturdays busy during football season."
She said Boyd works off farm often in his role as a livestock handling consultant and travels extensively around Australia.
"Sometimes we tag along to Western Australia or the Northern Territory for a new experience on stations.
"We love our life as a farming family and feel lucky and blessed we can bring the kids up on farms, experiencing life and learning life skills everyday."