To produce the article they require to meet the meatworks, and in more recent times live export market, specifications the Sullivan family, trading as Mount Coolon Pastoral, have been buying bulls in high volume from the Gold City Brahman Sale for the last five years.
Denton and Goscelyn Sullivan are currently running a 2500 head Brahman herd (down from up to 4500 head due to the drought) on 27,400ha of predominately undulating forest country, interspersed with some creek flats, on Mt Coolon Station, Mt Coolon, in Central Queensland.
Denton is the third generation of the Sullivan family to live and work on Mt Coolon, and he took over management and ownership of the property with Goscelyn six years ago. In addition to running their commercial cattle operation, the pair are also raising their three young daughters Tori, Isla and Layla.
The Sullivans are also third generation Brahman breeders with the family having run a pure breeding program for more than 50 years.
"The survivability, adaptability and performance of the breed are essential traits required for the sustainability of our operation, especially in our less productive country, and through the harsh conditions we're currently contending with, and will no doubt face in the future,"
"When we were handed the reins to Mt Coolon the herd was comprised of both grey and red Brahmans but soon after we made the decision to concentrate on reds and therefore we've solely purchased red bulls for six years," Denton said.
"We don't have anything against the greys, we personally just prefer the look of the reds," he said.
The family generally join the bulls to their females from late December to April, dependent on climatic conditions and in better seasons they fatten bullocks to more than 600kg at two and a half to three old for the meatworks market.
"However, for the last four years, due to drought, we've accessed the live export market to which we're turning young cattle off earlier as light (270kg to 380kg, at 18 to 24 months) or heavy feeders (380kg plus and 24 months and older) for both steers and cull heifers."
Denton said they've been sourcing bulls from the Gold City Sale as the majority of them are bred locally in Charters Towers in similar conditions to their own.
"There is always a good cross section of bulls to choose from depending on the traits you are looking for."
He said they've been been happy with their purchases from the sale as the bulls have adapted easily and gone straight out into the paddock to work after being quarantined and introduced.
"A particular advantage of the sale for us is that it's held in November which marries up well with the start of our joining period."
The Sullivans bought the top priced red of the 2018 sale when they placed the $11,000 winning bid on XMS Diplomatico 73/6 (AI) (D).
"He was joined in late December last year and we're about to see his progeny drop in the upcoming weeks.
"We're very excited to see how his overall tidy confirmation and smooth muscle pattern have impacted and improved our herd genetics."
At sale time the Sullivans pay particular attention to a number of attributes when narrowing down the bull buying wish list.
"We look for overall body confirmation, particularly in the legs/feet for mobility over forest terrain and large areas and for servicing ability, as a balanced structure is advantageous for ease of calving.
"A quiet temperament is a must. We've culled heavily in our herd on temperament which has resulted in quieter/calmer cattle that has made our mustering and yard work safer, simpler and easier.
"We like a tidy, short sheath to eliminate the risk of bulls breaking down with pizzle problems.
"Even smooth muscling and fat cover is important as we're still producing a meatworks marketable product.
"We also consider EBV's (mainly fertility related ones), but we don't completely rely on these as we've found good figures on paper sometimes don't properly represent the actual animal."
Denton said looking ahead, they'll continue striving to improve the genetics across the overall herd.
"We're now at a point where we're considering setting up a nucleus herd of preferential females to breed our own bulls for personal use within the herd."