The Marks family have been achieving great results putting bulls purchased from the Roma Poll Hereford Sale over their Braford breeding herd on Winvic, in the Kilcummin district north of Clermont.
Darren and Alice Marks run the breeding operation across three properties spanning 10,073ha with their daughter Olivia, while Darren's father, Charlie, now semi-retired, frequently travels from Clermont to help.
Darren's grandparents drew Winvic in 1957, and Olivia represents the fourth generation of the family on the property. The family also own a forestry block 20kms from Winvic, and a coastal property at Clairview, 100kms south of Mackay.
Alice said after receiving a late break in the weather in March and April the country on Winvic is the best it has been for five years.
"It looks fantastic, the late rain has also allowed us to feed up the herd through winter. The forestry block is still recovering from the dry, so it'll need another good drop before we start restocking on there." she said.
Progeny from their 1200 head breeding herd are sold as trade steers to JBS at Jap Ox weight, though through the dry they've sold close to half that number as feeders. They also target the MSA grassfed market through Teys with their cull heifers.
Alice said when Winvic was originally drawn, Herefords were primarily used on-property which later changed to Brafords.
"Our core herd is still Braford, and we've always crossed the Braford females with a variety of Euro breed bulls. It was in 2012 that we decided to try Hereford bulls again and we've been impressed with the results."
"The advantage of using Herefords lies in their temperament. It's amazing how docile they are, and that breeds on. Their progeny wean easily and gain weight rapidly after weaning."
The reintroduction of Hereford sires into their operation in 2012 began with the Marks purchasing bulls from the annual Roma Poll Hereford Sale, where they continue to source their bulls from.
"We like buying there as the breeders all collect EBV data, and they offer quality bulls at affordable rates.
"We also breed our own composite bulls from our Roma Poll Hereford sires, which go back into our herd. We'd have close to 15 pure Hereford sires, and an equal number of composites."
Their aim is to breed polled whiteface cattle with quiet temperament and high weight for age as those are the traits they consider most important in their progeny.
To help achieve these goals more effectively the family has this year used a Herefords Australia Super Sire in an AI program over high content females in an effort to breed a line of females with high IMF traits.
"The AI program is a work in progress, but the first cross Hereford over Red Brahman female results have been very pleasing, and likewise the Herefords over our Braford females is giving us a really even line of cattle."
Alice said the biggest surprise for them has been their ability to run Herefords on the Clairview block.
"They're thriving on the coastal country there with a mixed herd of Bos Indicus females. We're turning off the cross progeny at 350kg through the Gracemere Saleyards for really good money.
She said while they've sold into the grainfed MSA market for the past four years, this was their first year selling into the grassfed MSA market.
"It has been a rewarding experiment with 100 per cent of the Hereford cross progeny in the consignment grading MSA.
"We believe striving for maximum market flexibility is essential."