Elite heifer purchases aiding Hillview herd

Prices fixed on poll red Brahman target

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Elmo bloodlines: Pictured are one of the Prices' Elmo Brahman cows with her first calf by LMC LN Polled Pappo 136/6 (PP).

Elmo bloodlines: Pictured are one of the Prices' Elmo Brahman cows with her first calf by LMC LN Polled Pappo 136/6 (PP).

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While the Price family at Hillview Station, 30km south of Hughenden, had to reduce their breeder numbers due to flooding and the ongoing drought they remain resolutely focussed on progressing their poll red Brahman herd.

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While the Price family at Hillview Station, 30km south of Hughenden, have had to reduce their breeder numbers due to the twin impacts of last year's flooding and the ongoing drought they remain resolutely focussed on progressing their poll red Brahman herd.

Peter and Olivia Price, are the third generation of the family on the 12,950ha property (their young son and daughter being the fourth), which lies predominantly on downs country, with Gidgee timber and ridges running through it.

After a tough season 2019, the Price's spirits have lifted through early 2020 as they've gotten under some falls this past month, having received close to 130mm on Hillview in total in that time.

"It's good to see a bit of greenery around again," Mrs Price said.

She said while in the past they've successfully used Charolais and Angus bulls over their Brahman cows to produce an article better suited to the southern markets, they've almost entirely dispersed their remaining cross cattle to focus on producing pure red Brahmans.

"The Brahman appeals to us for their hardiness, they're crucial for us here, especially through periods of drought. We're currently running close to 600commercial breeders and 80 stud cows." she said.

While they used to grow their cattle out for the meatworks, the Price's now aim to deliver progeny from their commercial herd to the live export, backgrounder and feedlot sectors.

"Our aim is to grow them to at least 300kg to 350kg before selling them, but in recent years we've had to sell them off earlier due to lack of feed. Hopefully, if the rain stays consistent we'll be able to start getting them up to more desirable weights again."

Mrs Price said the cattle prices are on a high at the moment.

"If you're lucky enough to be able to sell cattle at present then you're in a good position.

"We've recently put off selling some of our steers due to the wet weather, which we think is a good problem to have."

Objective: The Price family at Hillview, near Hughenden, are focussed on producing high quality poll Red Brahman stud and commercial cattle. Photo: Olivia Price.

Objective: The Price family at Hillview, near Hughenden, are focussed on producing high quality poll Red Brahman stud and commercial cattle. Photo: Olivia Price.

While the Price's breeding operations remains primarily commercially orientated, they've also been establishing their stud, Red Stone Brahmans, since 2016, to help improve the quality of their entire herd.

"It feels like its a really slow process to build a fully registered herd from scratch but it gives us a great sense of achievement looking back on how far we've come and how much we've grown in the last three years.

"We purchased our first stud bull Elmo Peace Pipe 1011/7(P), from Allan and Leonie Trail, Elmo Brahmans, in 2018 which we've used to put over our stud and commercial cows.

"We're still predominantly using AI programs with semen sourced from a handful of Australian and international breedlines. From this we are hoping to bring something new to the table."

She said they're hoping to have their first lot of sale bulls ready to go through the ring this year at the annual Gold City Brahman Sale held in Charters Towers.

To improve and diversify their stud and commercial operations, the family have regularly bought heifers from the Rocky All-Stars Elite Brahman Female Sale.

"The quality of the heifers at the All Stars sale is consistently very high."

Mrs Price said they've been following the sale since they first established their stud, but in recent years they haven't been able to attend in person primarily due to family commitments.

"Instead we stream the sale online, and we rely on our agent, Robert Murray at Elders, to choose the type of cattle we love for us.

She said they've been fortunate enough to have purchased eight heifers from leading studs such as Elmo, Palmvale, Muan, Halgenaes and Bungarribee over the years.

"We also bought some heifers privately from the Elmo and Gracemere studs around the same time, which really boosted our numbers."

She said all the heifers brought onto Hillview from the sale and their private purchases are performing well and settled in quickly.

"Most of them have either had calves recently or are currently in calf."

She said they've also been very fortunate to have been offered some quality females by the Elmo and Bungarribee studs.

"These two studs have helped us set the foundations for our business and we have nothing but admiration and appreciation for them."

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