For Graham and Christine Stirrat, the Brahman breed is key to their breeding operation at Littledale situated in Berajondo.
The Stirrats bought Littledale 30 years ago, though the property has been in the family for a century.
Graham said if country on the 600ha property “isn’t going up it’s coming down”, with the land mainly comprising basalt hills with spotted gum, wattle and lantana where it isn’t cleared.
In the three decades they’ve been on Littledale, Graham said they’ve consistently been using Brahman bulls over the breeders to keep their lines pure.
“Brahmans handle this country a little better than other breeds,” he said.
He said they run close to a 110 head breeding herd, depending on the season, along with 30 stud cows.
“I also keep one or two bulls as backups or mop up bulls which I will put out for the last month of the season.”
Graham said in the operation they focus on using quiet cows with good frames, which have the ability to produce a calf each year.
“I let the heifers get a bit of size before having a calf, if they calve too early it’s hard to get weight on the frame.
“My culls are sold as stores at Gin Gin at around 15 to 18 months, and steers are sent to the meatworks at 600kgs.
He said all cattle get sold when they’re ready to go or if pasture is getting low.
“We’re better off with the money in the bank and letting our better performing animals make meat.”
Graham said in the past he left the bulls out all year round, but in the last few years he’s been putting them out in October and pulling them out in March.
“Before we changed tact, every time I pulled my bulls out, our neighbours bulls would get in which didn’t go well for culling empties.”
Graham said the last four bulls they’ve purchased were from Jim and Bonnie Besley, Bungarribee Brahmans, Barmoya, including two from the Gold City sale.
“Jim and Bonnie’s bulls are always quiet and good to handle, they have good weight for age and adapt well for my coastal country.
“I do prefer buying bulls at sales, as my logic is that breeders will more than likely sell their best bulls at sale for the competition and a better price, the only down side is they are full of feed and need letting down.”
Pre-sale, Graham said he looks for a bull that isn’t too short or too long, has good depth, good spring of rib, and a rump that extends well down the back legs.
Out of the paddock Graham has a slashing contract and Christine is a part time teacher, “to make ends meet”.
“I’m also the chair of a local rural science group in which our dedicated membership of landholders discuss how other graziers manage their properties during well attended field days.”