A veteran stock and station agent with 45 years of experience to his name, John Friend is at the helm of a multitude of breeding and fattening operations across Queensland and the Northern Territory predominantly involving the use of Red Angus and Red Senegus bulls.
He said the main breeding property is at Dimbulah on the Atherton Tablelands where several thousand head of Brahman-cross females are being joined to Red Senegus bulls.
“On our other Tablelands properties we have a composite breeding program in place that utilises Brahman, Charolais and Droughtmaster females,” John said.
He said they retain all of their heifers and join them with the Red Angus bulls on these properties for which they’ve managed to achieve a 100 per cent joining rate over the past two years.
“To feed into the live export market we also have a 500 head grain assisted feedlot at Millaa Millaa.
“We’ve recently purchased a breeding property at Logan in South East Qld where we will commence operations shortly, and we manage 15 individual grazing properties across the Top End.”
John said they join all year round at present, and they’re working on improving the hardiness of their bulls, and have the breeders on an increased protein ration.
“We’re conducting these activities as we require a constant supply of weaners to grow out to meet our expanding market for Angus beef locally and overseas.”
He said when the breeder herd grows above 4000 head the aim is to crack the high end restaurant market in mainland China to which they’ll be exporting their Angus product into.
John also acts as the Australian representative for several Chinese companies who’re interested in investing in the beef industry in the NT, NSW and western Qld.
John has been attending the Australian Topstock Barcaldine Bull Sale for several years and said he has a preference for purchasing bulls from Robert and Anthony Closes’ Kurrawirra Red Angus and Red Senegus.
“The bulls they produce have strong vigor and consistently perform well in the hot conditions on the Tablelands and in the high humidity of our tropical properties.”