Queensland Country Life

Striking the genetic balance to meet market demands is focus of Queensland cattle industry leader

Calliope Cattle Company's Will Wilson

This is advertiser content for Jarrah Genetics.

Achieving the right genetic balance to produce beef cattle that meet consumer demands, both domestic and export, at any time of year, with the ability to thrive under the toughest seasonal conditions is the holy grail for Australian producers.

Will Wilson, owner of Calliope Cattle Company and AgForce Cattle Board President, is someone with this at the forefront of his program. He believes this winning combination is within sight for his Central Queensland-based cattle operation since sourcing bulls from local company Jarrah Genetics.

According to Mr Wilson, the severe drought conditions the industry is experiencing has highlighted even more the importance of smart innovation when it comes to the breeds that producers should be looking at.

The Calliope Cattle Company operation was built on producing cattle that could handle the Queensland environment while having high eating quality and fertility.

Known for its tropicalised Herefords, the family still have a Hereford nucleus but have crossed with Bos Indicus, Brahman, Droughtmaster and Santa Gertrudis.

Now for the past six years, Mr Wilson has utilised Hereford and Jarrah Red bulls from Jarrah Genetics, the family-owned Central Queensland operation headed up by Sam Becker.

The Jarrah Red breed is unique to the Becker family. Marketed as 'the clean-coated flatbacks', a Jarrah Red consists of just under 50 per cent British genetics and remainder percentage Brahman.

"We want to stabilise around that 50/50 Hereford and Bos Indicus animal and this is the place of the Jarrah Reds," said Mr Wilson.

"They offer hybrid vigour whilst still stabilising that middle ground content.

"With the Jarrah Red you've got an animal that can handle the harsher climate as well as be ready to utilise pasture when you've got availability, and be fertile in a bad season - that's the most important thing.

"It's alright to be able to handle the biggest drought but if your cattle don't have calves you've got nothing left to farm. Fertility is king."

Red power: The unique Jarrah Red breed is designed to be a type of animal that fits the build of a clean-coated flatback that's soft enough to supply premium local feedlot markets, whilst being hardy enough to meet live export specifications.

With this as one of their reasons, Calliope Cattle Co maintain the Hereford nucleus as part of the operation. Hereford herd bulls are bred and then joined over higher grade Bos Indicus breeders. In one cross that ideal middle ground 'flatback' animal can be produced.

"The Hereford bulls we source from Jarrah have the advantage of being acclimatised to tick and Central Queensland conditions. When the bulls arrive they are already adapted and ready to go," Mr Wilson said.

"We buy our bulls from Jarrah's sale and they are presented in a good forward condition, without being overdone. This is part of the reason the bulls have longevity - six years on we still have some of the first bulls we purchased."

Recently Mr Wilson teamed up with fellow grazier Mark Howard to launch Queensland Beef Consultancy (QBC). QBC does a lot of buying and selling of cattle for clients and sees first-hand the specifications required for markets.

"It's clear especially during these dry times the need to produce an animal that has an exit option at any time, as well as a consistent line," Mr Wilson said.

A sample of the Jarrah Hereford bulls that will be offered for sale by Jarrah Genetics in September. They are acclimatised to Central Queensland and tick country.

"The Jarrah progeny helps us with that with good weight for age to hit feedlot specs whilst still having frame and fat cover to allow the option to grass finish if the season permits.

"The consistency we see in the progeny year in year out allows us to maintain the markets we regularly supply which helps build solid relationships."

The Jarrah Genetics Bull Sale 2019 is on September 16 at 11am. It's being held on property at 'Glenarchy' Banana Queensland, offering 36 Central Queensland acclimatised Hereford Bulls and 30 Jarrah Red Bulls - "the clean-coated flatbacks". For more information head to Jarrah Genetics website or call 0417 576 667.

This is advertiser content for Jarrah Genetics.