Queensland Country Life

In the Clunie Range Angus program pressure has made diamonds

The Guest family consider their Angus females the pillar of their genetic pool, which in turn has led to their bulls being held in high regard. Picture supplied
The Guest family consider their Angus females the pillar of their genetic pool, which in turn has led to their bulls being held in high regard. Picture supplied


For 67 years the Guest family has run their commercial Angus herd under the strictest of conditions, a practice that the family also applied to their Clunie Range Angus Stud when it was established 38 years ago.

Though this time the Guests focus has remained fixed on producing commercially relevant bulls that can capably adapt to all environments while also being able to produce calves that meet market specifications.

Furthermore, the family believes that they produce a 'unique' Angus female on their properties situated in Taroom, Queensland, and Coolatai and Wallangra, New South Wales.

"Our females are run commercially at rigorous stocking rates which we feel is a true representation of the cow's performance," Brett Guest said.

"Our females are highly fertile, not by accident, but due to a high degree of selection pressure," he said.

"We have high expectations for our females, but as a result, they are the pillar of our genetic pool and the direct result as to why our bulls have such a good reputation for their doing-ability and performance.

"We consider our females as unique, we rarely sell them. It's important to us to protect them as they are such an asset to our operation. They are our backbone."


As the Guests were breeding Angus cattle commercially long before they commenced their stud operation, they ran their cattle at high stocking rates, while turning off weaners as commercial breeders, out of necessity, in the early years.

"We have carried this breeding philosophy into the stud and continue to run our cattle at higher stocking rates than most."

Mr Guest said fertility is the most crucial aspect of any breeding operation, which is why they've always semen and morphology tested their bulls.

"It's easy to get high pregnancy rates when cows are run on 50-acre paddocks on improved pastures in prime conditions.

"The challenge is trying to achieve these results when you need your cattle to perform just as well in much tougher, commercial conditions, where they're required to walk long distances to water and may need to graze in hilly country where at times the nutrition is poor and the cattle are having to work hard to forage."


The Guests believe that how they run their cattle, which involves mimicking the conditions that most of their clients are operating under, sets them up for success.

"This process has significantly contributed to us being able to sell bulls well into North Queensland as well as into every state in the country.

"We tend to take this for granted at times, but some people still get surprised at some of the conditions our cattle are expected to perform under, and then go out and do so."

Mr Guest said their long-term clients are very familiar with how they manage their herd, and that it would be extremely difficult for a program like theirs to be replicated by others.

"It has taken us generations of strategic and disciplined breeding decisions to finally get to a point where we can truly reap the rewards of consistency, volume, quality, and performance.

"It's not something you can achieve over a short period.

"The 'easy way out' of having fat, shiny, pampered cattle is not what we do, nor is it reflective of a herd that can perform beneficially under pressure.

"We are commercial breeders, that is our business and that is our market."


The feedback the Guests have received regarding the performance of their bulls in the paddocks of their clients has, in their words, "been nothing short of absolutely phenomenal".

"We're fortunate enough that most of our client base is formed of genuine cattle breeders that believe in our program and appreciate that the way we run our cattle is no different to how they run theirs."

Looking ahead this year, the Guests said they're looking forward to further highlighting The Clunie Range breeding process and examples of the article that they produce at Beef Australia 2024 in Rockhampton from May 5 to 11. The Guests will also host their annual Clunie Range Angus Bull Sale on-property at Wallangra, NSW, on Friday, August 2.