Brafords have proven to be a top crossbreeding option over the years for the King family, providing them with great market flexibility with the article they produce.
Trading as Kingsbrae Partnership Pty Ltd, Robert and Dianne King along with their son Brock run their business across properties in Stratheden, Leeville and Mongogarie. in the Northern Rivers area of New South Wales.
Brock King said the family started a Braford stud at the Stratheden block when they purchased it 30 years ago, though they soon changed tact to commercial production due in large part to the quality crossbreeding options the breed provides.
"The Braford cross progeny have good weight for age, which allows us to finish of the calves quickly. They also give us a high yielding carcase for the meatworks market," he said.
They target most of their steers and cull cows to the vealer and meatworks markets, through the Casino Saleyards, and they've also sold calves to the butchers.
"We aim to sell at between 300 to 350 kg and as eight to ten month olds. We've been receiving our best prices ever in recent times."
Their Braford bulls are joined with Charolais and Santa Gertrudis breeders.
"The Braford x Charolais provides us with a good weight for age article, and puts a bit of softness back into the calves. We're can hit a few markets with the creamy calf produced through this joining. We keep the Braford x Santa heifers, and the steers yield very well."
They're also joining Charolais and Santa Gertrudis bulls with Braford cows and heifers as the Brafords handle their country very well.
"When the Barnett family, at Baroma Downs, Croppa Creek, decided to retire last year, we purchased a couple of decks of Braford cows and calves from them. They're in with the Santa bulls now. Their temperament is unbelievable. We're focussing now on producing a pure Braford and Braford-cross herd."
The Kings run a fixed joining period within their operation with bulls put in the paddock with heifers for three months from June, and for four to six months, season dependent, with the cows, from June or July.
"We preg-test after this period and anything that isn't in-calf is culled. We mouth then cull the older cows when necessary as well. By being strict on the females, and by looking after our cattle through the tougher months during the joining period we manage to achieve around a 90 per cent fertility rate most of the time."
In unison with their Braford focus, the Kings have bought bulls from their Stratheden neighbours, the Bennett family, Little Valley Brafords, for three decades.
"The Bennetts have been family friends for as long as I can remember. They're very easy to deal with. Their bulls have great temperament, strong carcase attributes, walking ability, correct structure, and strong eye appeal."
The Kings Stratheden block is comprised of river flats with irrigation, while the other properties, (purchased in the last five years to expand their operations) consist of lighter creek and sandy loam soil country.
They've received good rain since the start of the year, which has helped turn their country around.
"Though we got through the dry of last year without destocking, we were feeding the cattle silage, hay, that we made ourselves, and lick to get them through. We have a good body of winter feed now, which has been spurred on by good winter rain."
Since buying the newer properties they've been improving them with Rhodes grass and chicken manure.
"We have a transport business which supplies and delivers bulk chicken manure to South-East Queensland and Northern NSW customers, and we're also using the manure on our own country, with great results, which is helping us to gradually expand our herd from 400 breeders to between 500 and 600 breeders."