Despite dry conditions continuing to impact operations on the Stanford family's commercial breeding operation based on Ardlui in Roma, they're continuing to produce a sought after feeder market article due in large part to the hardiness of their base Brahman herd.
Fred and Gaylene Stanford run the operation across three properties with seasonal help from children, Clancy, Sam and Lucy.
The family purchased Ardlui in July, 2012. The 4855 hectare property consists of Brigalow belah, black soils running onto the Balonne River and Sandalwood country, and is used for breeding activities.
Birrahlee (505ha) in Wandoan is used for fattening, and last year the family bought Wununa (1457ha), a cultivation block, south of Roma.
Fred said they've only received four and half to five inches of rain in the last year, which has led to them reducing their cow and heifer numbers, which are being supplemented with cottonseed and lick.
"We also grow forage sorghum in summer and grazing oats in winter, but due to the lack of moisture the oats crops on Birrahlee and Wununa failed this year."
In their operation, the Stanford's purchase Brahman bulls to breed with cows and replacement heifers within their pure Brahman female herd. Charolais bulls are also bought to put over the Brahman breeders.
"We aim to sell the resulting Brahman and Charbray steers into whichever feedlots are offering the best money at the time. Prices have been holding firm lately at $2.90 to $3 for our steers which we're happy with.
"Due to the dry conditions we still have a few lighter ones on-property which we're trying to find a home for, but 440kg to 480kg is our ideal selling weight."
Fred said he has always had a preference for Brahmans due to their adaptability, good mothering ability and their survivability through the dry.
To enhance and diversify the bloodlines running through their herd, the Stanford's have been purchasing bulls from Keith and Annabelle Wilson, Samari Plains Red Brahman, Roma for more than 10 years.
"We have three Samari bulls on Ardlui at present which are all proven performers. We find the Wilson's bulls consistently provide us with high quality, soft and quiet calves.
"We also often purchase bulls from the Olsen family, Neslo Brahmans, Wandoan, and the Radel family, Kandoona Brahmans, Taroom."
He said when buying bulls they look for a good body, soundness in the feet and a quiet temperament.
"We also try to focus on buying bulls with the poll gene, but they have to have a good body to go with it in that instance."