The consistency that the Flower family has achieved with their Santa Gertrudis x Hereford crossbreeding program, in relation to the article they're producing and the returns they receive from repeat buyers, year in and year out, continues to provide them with confidence in achieving their objectives.
Cameron and Sarah Flower, run the business with Cameron's mother Rowena under the banner of C.A. Flower & Co from Garrabarra, which has been in the family since 1906.
The family breed their cattle, and farm forage sorghum and oats for the cattle 1214ha, on Garrabarra and Ticehurst (purchased in 2011), which are situated between Roma and Surat, and Callitris North (added in 2003) at Condamine.
The Flowers introduced Santa Gertrudis bulls into their program in 1990 to join with their Hereford breeding herd, and due to the success of that decision they've continued to run with the cross.
"We like the hybrid vigour, ease of handling and the easy doing offspring we get from the cross," Mr Flower said.
He said said they join the bulls with the cows and heifers from November for close to five months. The breeders are preg-tested annually post-mating with any that aren't in-calf sold on.
"The dry seasons of the last couple of years haven't been easy on the younger heifers, but we're still usually achieving between an 85 to 90 per cent conception rate."
The progeny produced are targeted to the domestic feedlots, usually Woolworths and Coles, or to nearby grass fattening operations in late November or early December.
"We aim to sell a 12 to 14 month old, 350kg article through the Roma Saleyards or privately depending on the market and season."
To source high quality Santa Gertrudis bulls for their program the Flowers have been buying from the Heartland Sale, held at the Roma Saleyards, for more than a decade.
"We preference buying from the sale as it predominantly features bulls produced by studs in our region so they adapt well to our country. Frame, muscling, temperament and softness are the main traits we inspect for prior to making our purchases on the day."
Mr Flower said the sandy loam, with Coolibah hollows, and forest country at Garrabarra and Ticehurst, is coming back well on the back of solid rainfall to date this year, as is the Brigalow and Belah country on Callitris North.
"We've received 305 to 355mm over the properties to date in 2020, which is a big improvement on 2019, when we only had between 178 to 203mm for the entire year.
"Our herd numbers are back a bit at present due to the dry, but if these good seasons continue we'll gradually look to build our numbers back up."