The necessity for a cattle breed which would flourish in the tropics is what led Richard and Rebecca Burge to begin using Brahmans close to 20 years ago.
The Burge family, which includes, Richard and Rebecca and their sons Nicholas, Samuel, Harry, Angus, and Lachlan, run their predominantly Brahman herd on Lamonds Lagoon, 110kms south of Mt Garnet, and Benean, 10kms east of Richmond, on clean land south of the railway line.
The 26,000ha Lamonds Lagoon has been owned by the family for 18 years and features ridgy forest country timbered with ironbark, grey box and gum interspersed, on Burdekin River frontage. Breeding operations involving a herd of 3500 cows and replacement heifers are carried out there.
The Burges’ bought the 9500ha Benean which lies on heavy, black, undulating Mitchell grass downs country with double frontage to O’Connell creek in 2007, and is where they background close to 1300 steers and finish their old cows.
“We’ve been using Brahmans, mainly reds, since before we purchased Lamonds Lagoon, as we need a tropical beast to suit our climatic conditions, and Brahmans fit the bill as they’re a very hardy breed,” Richard said.
He said in the breeding program heifers are joined from January 1 to May 30, and the bulls are put in with the older females from January 1 to September 1.
“With the steer progeny produced we are targeting that 300 to 400kg steer, suitable for either the domestic store market or the live export trade. Our location at Richmond allows us to take advantage of the southern markets or live job,” he said.
To bolster the genetics of the herd, the Burges have been attending the Gold City sale on and off over the years since they’ve been at Lamonds Lagoon.
“As the sale is held in Charters Towers, it’s a convenient one for us to attend, and the range of bulls available there is always good.
“We purchased five bulls there last year and the first calves from them are just about to drop.
“The bulls we’ve purchased there previously have done well and suit our climate and conditions. Whenever we’re short a few bulls we go to Gold City and purchase some more.”
He said they have a preference for bulls with a high sheath because of their heavily timbered country.
“And reds, we like reds, though we have picked up some handy greys in the past there as well.”
Richard said the family love spending time together on the properties, fencing, yard building and often camping out to do these jobs.
“There’s never a dull moment, in fact, Rebecca has written a book about all our happenings at Lamonds Lagoon titled “Life As It Is!”