A family legacy continues

Heritage combines with tourism for the Creeds


Local Business Feature
Matthew, Helen, Samantha, Ron Creed in front of the tourism complex at The Old Station.

Matthew, Helen, Samantha, Ron Creed in front of the tourism complex at The Old Station.

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A central Queensland Brahman operation has combined successfully with agritourism.

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Creed Grazing Company combines a commercial Brahman breeding operation with agritourism, to support two families and a number of local employees. Ron and Andrew Creed, with their wives, Helen and Nancy, have continued the legacy of their parents, George and Leonie Creed, who saw the advantages of Brahman cattle to their country; and had a vision to combine family heritage with tourism.

The property is spread over three holdings, southwest of Raglan in central Queensland. Five generations later, Ron and Helen and their children live at The Old Station and Andrew and Nancy live with their children on Langmorn Station. Both properties run the breeding herd. The nearby Mt Bennett property is used to grow out yearlings.

In total, the holding is 10,520 hectares (26,000 acres) of undulating coastal country with some timbered country, that benefits from coastal weather influences due to its proximity between Gladstone and Rockhampton. Pastures, particularly in the more undulating areas, have been improved with Seca stylos.

This year, surface water has diminished quickly and the property is reliant on underground water supplies and Raglan Creek to provide stock water.

The property has irrigation licenses for crops, which enables hay to be harvested in a normal season - hay that is made specifically to feed to the weaners.

"We stock the country appropriately for the season and lighten the load when the conditions dictate," Ms Creed said.

Pasture rejuvenation is timed for the first rain after winter, in late July/August.

"We burn our country after rain," Ms Creed said.

"Because it's rained, the ground is wet, so the dry, frosted grass burns, rejuvenating the pasture; and the ash is almost like a potash.

"The new green growth has high nutrition levels and is very palatable. The cows have a great start to the calving season and start cycling soon after."

Bulls run with the 1300-head self-replacing breeding herd throughout the year, for two weanings and brandings.

"The conditions reflect seasonal mating. We get on average about 10 per cent of calves born out of season, but all cows are producing," Ms Creed said.

"When we brand, our females are paddock branded for identification. We know then what family they're from and what bull is the sire, so we're able to make decisions about what bull we want to join her with."

While they keep some bull calves for their own use, they purchase five-to-six stud bulls every year, maintaining about 50 for the herd. Bulls are chosen for their genetic ability to infuse beef qualities of length, depth and width with a good temperament.

"Most importantly, they need frame to build beef," Ms Creed said.

"Brahmans are very suited to our country because of their resistance to ticks, resilience in dry conditions, ease of calving and the ability to work the mountainous country.

"We prefer Brahmans with the shorter ear and the wider forehead."

Calves branded before Christmas are weaned in April, an intense job on the station, with daily tailing, feeding and handling using horses and border collies.

"It's important to educate the weaners in a low stress manner," Ms Creed said.

"After weaning, we then walk the weaners 20km to Mt Bennett, to their growing paddocks.

Due to seasonal conditions, April weaners are generally 30kg heavier than the winter weaners, which are weaned at approximately eight months of age.

The best heifers are retained, with the remainder sold privately for feeder or crossbreeding programs.

For the past eight years, maiden heifers have been injected with Multimin.

"We've noted increased growth rates and the heifers show better cycling and joining rates after their first calf," Ms Creed said.

"We muster the steers twice a year for feeder markets.

"We find they have no problems with transitioning to grain at the feedlot, and they're really quiet because of the handling.

"From the feedlot, they spend 90 days on grain then are sold direct to the abattoir.

"We aim for them to be 0-2 tooth and 400-500kg, because as soon as they have four-teeth and heavier, the price per kilo plummets."

As well as the four principals, with six children (five at school), the business employs five casual staff to support the beef and agritourism business.

Leonie Creed began the agritourism side of the company, 22 years ago, with tours of the heritage-listed homestead and afternoon teas. This expanded to include the heritage homestead, some feeding of livestock and a bus tour of parts of the property with morning or afternoon tea - 90 per cent of which is supported by overseas visitors.

"Langmorn homestead is very interesting for tourists as it is heritage listed," Ms Creed said.

The business has grown to overnight accommodation, weddings, corporate and other functions.

"The diversification into tourism has been amazing and it's allowed us to build flexibility in income during drought times."

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