Kathy Moloney and her partner Ross Graham are enjoying sustained success utilising Simmentals in the crossbred breeding programs they run across two small properties in the Wallumbilla and Chinchilla districts.
Kathy and Ross run their enterprise, under the banner of Graham and Moloney Partnership, with the support and passion of her two daughters.
Their main block Kandarra was purchased 10 years ago and is situated 30km north of Wallumbilla. The 809ha of country on Kandarra comprises chocolate brigalow, belah and bottle tree country running up to harder lancewood ridges. This country is improved with buffel, bambatsi and a multitude of winter herbages.
Their other property Seymour, purchased two and a half years ago, is a little larger (1214ha) and is 90km north of Chinchilla in the Monogorilby district. Seymour features very similar country to Kandarra, with a mix of improved pastures running up to hardwood forestry on the ranges.
This property was purchased as Kathy and Ross were chasing good feed during the drought when it was very dry at Kandarra.
Kathy said both blocks could benefit from ongoing improvements which they're in the process of doing in a staged schedule.
"We'd just completed exclusion fencing on our Mitchell block (which they recently sold), and this is now a major consideration on our other blocks as dingoes, feral pigs and the invasion of kangaroos reduce the productivity of pastures quickly on these smaller properties.
She said rain has been reasonable this season and the country is looking decent.
"We're continuing to get some small but beneficial Winter showers, which are setting us up for a great spring."
Kathy said, Simmentals to her family, the Adams's from Blackall, have been a major influence in their beef operation for more than 40 years.
"My father Phillip Adams was a wonderful, highly regarded, practical cattleman and he chose to infuse Simmental bulls over his Braford/Hereford/Brahman herd to induce substantial hybrid vigour."
She said the immediate results were astounding with significant weight gains in their weaners, steers and bullocks.
"The phenotype of the females was very desirable, and they proved to be brilliant mothers providing plenty of milk for their calves.
"Their temperament, fertility, and drought tolerance also became evident. The word "doability" is one dad and I put in our dictionary as it's just so important."
While most of this great line of Simbrah females Phillip had established were sold off after his death, Kathy's passion for the breed encouraged her to continue her father's line of genetics.
"We run a herd of Simmental and Simbrah breeders at Seymour and a line of Black Simmental/Brangus cross cows at Kandarra.
"We have a nice line of Brangus cows here and we're finding the infusion of Simmental over those cows is a mighty cross producing soft, fleshy calves with all the right attributes.
"Our focus is on type, temperament and fertility - a soft, docile, easy doing animal is preferable - the Simmental breed provides all of this.
"They are less stressed, easy to handle and perform better in the paddock, the saleyards, or the feedlots."
She said they don't focus entirely on statistics and figures but rely heavily on feedback and results of their cattle and progeny to guide them.
"Due to the small size of our operation we leave bulls in all year, but we've now coordinated our breeding cycle and aim to calve in Spring and early Summer to ensure calves are weaned prior to the tough dry winter months.
"All incoming heifers are preg tested, with the empties being sold and likewise with the more mature cows, but we're always conscious of calves that may be lost to wild dogs/dingoes. Our calving rates are around 90 to 95 per cent annually.
When sourcing bulls, Kathy and Ross firstly conduct a visual appraisal to assess the phenotype and temperament.
"If they appeal, we then assess the key criteria provided with particular emphasis on morphology, fertility rates, growth traits and birth weights. Bulls must be soft and quiet, and all the data and characteristics need to stack up."
They aim to sell their weaners steers straight off their mothers especially at the moment with the market being so buoyant, plus not having enough country to grow them out to feeders or bullocks consistently.
"Cull heifers, surplus heifers, fat cows and cast for age cows are sold through saleyards, auction plus or direct to works/feedlots depending on the circumstances.
"Auction-plus provides a great platform that we intend to use more often as costs are lower, there is exposure to a much broader market, and you can place a reserve price on your cattle."
Kathy said they've recently begun successfully exhibiting with their Simmental cross steers.
"At the Ray White yearling and weaner show and sale in Dalby earlier this year we won the weaner steer class, and the year prior we came second in the Elders weaner/feeder show and sale."
"In both cases these steers were by a Gowrie Simmental bull over a Simbrah/Santa/Droughtmaster cow herd. They were neat little lines highlighted for their softness, muscling, and their great temperament."
Kathy had nothing but praise for the Simmental.
"I cannot recommend highly enough how wonderfully productive the inclusion of Simmental genetics has been for us. Over any cow they'll make a marked increase in weight gains, and that ultimately puts more dollars in your pocket."
She said their enterprise is only a small operation and it's their intention to step back in the coming years and involve their daughter Amy Moloney and her partner Sam Greenup more in the Chinchilla operation.
"This will allow them the opportunity to progress and develop their commercial cattle operation and passion for the beef industry."