Queensland Country Life

Jarrah Reds - the "Clean-Coated Flatbacks" built around fertility

Jarrah Genetics principals, Sarah and Sam Becker with daughter, Matilda. Picture by Kent Ward
Jarrah Genetics principals, Sarah and Sam Becker with daughter, Matilda. Picture by Kent Ward

This is branded content for Jarrah Genetics

Jarrah Genetics is the home of the Jarrah Reds, a unique tropical breed that the Becker family first established in 2007.

This program was based around an appetite for control over key profit drivers within their herd.

Based at Banana, Sam and Sarah Becker run Jarrah Genetics - a stud operation which breeds Herefords, Redfords and Jarrah Reds.

Fertility is one of two founding principles on which the breed was established.

Principal, Sam Becker said "Calves on the ground, means more kilograms of beef for our operation. In our industry eliminating any dead weight is paramount for success".

"The second key principle we aimed to achieve was compliance, to create a type of animal that would be suitable to our Central Queensland tick country, yet still be able to meet premium market specifications. This is how the Jarrah Red came about," he said.

Mr and Mrs Becker currently run their successful and established seed stock enterprise, Jarrah Genetics, consisting of 700 registered females across the three breeds, as well as 1200 commercial breeders in a family partnership, Jarrah Cattle Company. Their business ranges from breeding to backgrounding and trading cattle.

One of the Jarrah Red sale bulls, which will feature at the Beckers 2024 Jarrah Genetics Bull sale on Monday, September 2, on-property, at Glenarchy, Banana. Picture supplied
One of the Jarrah Red sale bulls, which will feature at the Beckers 2024 Jarrah Genetics Bull sale on Monday, September 2, on-property, at Glenarchy, Banana. Picture supplied

The Jarrah Red breed is a combination of Santa Gertrudis and Jarrah Redford genetics, another breed unique to the Becker family. The Redford is an animal that has a minimum of 25 per cent Hereford genetics, with the remaining percentage Brahman that is pure red in colour.

"We look to capitalise on leading characteristics from three breeds within this program; there is the fertility and market compliance with the Herefords, the hardiness from the Brahman and the Santa Gertrudis tied it all together," Mr Becker said.

"To keep fertility at the forefront of our program, we are very selective in where we source our genetics in each of the breeds, favouring studs we know that also keep commercial relevance at the forefronts of their programs," he said.

"Initially we sourced an entire mob of Santa cows from the renowned Headingly Station herd, when they undertook a herd reduction program due to drought. These breeders had been subject to strict fertility pressures under tough conditions, the perfect backbone for our Jarrah Reds.

"Our Redford genetics stemmed from our already established Hereford stud. Our Herefords are acclimatised to the Central Queensland tick climate and perform under the northern conditions. We always made sure that the Brahman bulls used in this program were out of cows that had fertility."

Within the Jarrah herds themselves strong fertility pressures are applied, with females calving at two year old and expected to calve each year thereafter.

"We adhere to a strict 3.5 month joining period, after which time all females are preg-tested and a strict culling of empties is carried out. We also cull any female that doesn't have a calf at branding, this ensures all our females are consistently performing," Mr Becker said.

"By running these principals from the beginning, we have culled some top grade cows and heifers which was hard at the time, but we now see the benefits of performance and fertility in our herd."

Mr Becker said the Jarrah Red herd is now stabilised up to seven generations, meaning greater consistency of both their fertility and constitution.

Initially the Becker Family created the Jarrah Red breed as a way of controlling key profit drivers such as fertility within their own commercial herd of over 1,200 breeders.

It has now evolved to a much larger program, offering 40 Jarrah Red bulls through an annual bull sale and further bulls through the paddock each year to other commercial producers.

"We have had so much success with the Jarrah Reds within our own commercial operation; we are able to sell our steers into flatback markets, kill cattle are reaching MSA specifications and our annual preg-test results are consistently higher," he said.

Jarrah Red sale bull. Picture supplied
Jarrah Red sale bull. Picture supplied

"Further to this, the calibre of herds we are now selling our genetics into, really shows to me we are on the right track."

Mr Becker said that one of the final pieces in the Jarrah Red puzzle was when they were able to start producing performance data for the breed.

"In 2019 we managed to start officially registering the Jarrah Reds through the Tropical Composite database. With this we have been able to further track performance, in terms of fertility, weight gains, carcase quality and milking performance. This gives that added layer of confidence in selecting the best genetics to take our operation forward."

The Beckers will hold their 2024 Jarrah Genetics Bull sale on Monday, September 2, on their property, Glenarchy, at Banana, as well as offering paddock bulls for sale throughout the year.

This is branded content for Jarrah Genetics