Easy-care is how Jim and Glenda Maguire describe their EU-accredited Brangus herd.
The couple manages 1700 head of cows and heifers grazing on their 6880ha property in the Dingo district, which is situated west of Rockhampton.
Heifers are joined at two-years-old and it's a methodology that has worked consistently for them, with a fertile herd.
With frontage to the Mackenzie River, and river flats of black soil country, the farm has sandy loam blackbutt country running out to melon hole land, and nearly all the pasture is buffalo grass.
A 628 megalitre license pumps water from the Mackenzie River to a turkey nest, where it disperses into 10,000 gallon water tanks and is reticulated to troughs.
The Maguire's also have centre pivot irrigation, that is used opportunistically and this last summer 405ha of that river country was sown to wheat.
Unfortunately, three deluges of rain - a total of 375mm - drowned that crop of wheat and ongoing muddy conditions and seasonal timing has prevented Mr Maguire from re-sowing wheat or something else.
It does mean there is a surplus of grassland for winter and the full soil moisture profiles means a boost for spring growth.
This ensured growth is ideal at a time when Jim and Glenda Maguire are shifting from producing three-year-old Brangus bullocks, to turning off their steers as weaners.
It should also enable him to harvest the hay which they use at weaning time.
"The buffalo grass has benefited from the full soil profile," Mr Maguire said.
In the last couple of years, the couple has pivoted their business focus to turning off weaners, after decades of producing 630kg bullocks, and fattening some cull heifers to 15-months-old. The last of the bullocks leaves the property this month.
The shift in breeding and business focus has enabled them to keep more females, with cows in the herd staying until they're about 10-years-old, so long as they're still producing a calf each year.
"We used to take our males through to three-year-old bullocks, we're now focussed on retaining more female cattle and selling the steers and cull heifers as weaners," he said.
"We're fortunate we're in a place where we can run both."
Whereas the bullocks would be sold direct to the local meatworks, as grassfed beef, and the grown-out heifers would be sold to breeders, the weaners go through CQLX and are bought by producers who're backgrounding cattle. The EU and grass-fed accreditations help gain a premium price.
"The Brangus is a cross of the two best breeds in the world.
"I always find with Brangus cattle that they do what you want them to do.
"We do it all on grazing. The cattle need to be able to grow, be fertile and docile, and calve, all on grass."
He's also tightening up the herd's joining and calving patterns, which has helped with Brangus bulls bredby John Collins, Yaraandoo, also in the Dingo district.
"We've normally put the bulls with the herds in September and brought them out in March. That date of pulling the bulls out is increasingly getting later, because of storms. This year the bulls were pulled out so late, the first cows will be calving by the end of this year."
The accidental methodology conflicts with his business philosophy, and affects weaning, which is normally in late June and July.
"This year there's a fair spread of calving, from March to October. I keep cows up to 10-years-old, so long as they're still having calves. Even the old cows bring in calves that are in good nick. The calves can come straight off the cows, have a short weaning period in the yards, and are then ready to be sold."
Last year's weaners were sold through Gary Wendt, of Ray White, at CQLX, as 280-300kg weaned weight.
For Mr and Mrs Maguire, farming is very much a hands-on operation, and making the changes will enable them to keep their cattle as they, themselves, get older.
They have bred quiet cattle for decades, helped by their choice of bulls. It probably helps that the foundation heifers for John Collins to begin Yaraandoo Brangus Stud came from the Maguires.
"All of John's cattle are quiet, they're always black, with good temperament and doers. There's never been a problem with any of them.
"Using his bulls in our herd means Glenda and I can do the mustering on our own, using a couple of quad bikes to bring the cows, calves and bulls in quietly."
There's also diversity. A Yaraandoo bull that Mr Maguire bought last year had a higher quotient of Angus genetics, which attracted him to bid.
"That enables me to join that bull to Brangus cows with a lower Angus content.
"Diversity allows us to chop and change our breeding, joining bulls and cows depending on their percentages of Angus and Brahman genetics as they throwback."
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