STRONG consumer demand for Brangus cattle has helped inspire the direction of one Tablelands producer's small-scale operation.
Austin Crowther began breeding cattle on his family's Tarzali property, named Georges after his father, in 2015 and has been adjusting his 130-head herd to become completely Brangus to meet market trends.
The move to a completely Brangus herd recently paid off, when Mr Crowther topped a Mareeba store cattle sale with weaner steers, which reached 718c/kg.
Despite not being a large-scale operator by his own admission, Mr Crowther said he believed the size of a herd did not dictate how much success can be achieved.
"There's bigger operations out there for sure, but I don't think it matters how big your outfit is," he said.
"If you try and produce what the market is after, you can still enjoy a lot of success, regardless of your size.
"To me, it's about meeting the consumer demand and I think the major supermarkets have been a great thing for commercial Brangus producers because they are driving the need for flat-backed cattle.
"Butcher shops are the same, you don't often see them market many other breeds of cattle than Angus or Brangus in this part of the world, so the opportunities are there if you want to go down that path."
Initially beginning his herd with Shorthorn-Brahman cross cows and a Brangus bull, Mr Crowther has continued to aim for the best possible genetics to meet his marketing strategy.
"For me, the big thing is getting the genetics right," he said.
"All of my cattle were by a Brangus bull and out of Brangus cows, which are producing those quality cattle the market is after.
"At the moment, I've got some really nice young heifers that I was also going to send to Mareeba, but the neighbour has told me that they want them, which is pleasing because it's a bit of affirmation that I'm doing something right."
Known for being home to a diverse mix of cattle breeding operations, Mr Crowther said he felt the Tablelands could soon be home to more Brangus cattle operations.
"I think your seeing high prices down south because producers are producing cattle like that too and I think if we want those sort of prices up here we have to tap into that market and produce those types of cattle," he said.
"The cattle I sold at Mareeba the other week went to Winton and I can honestly see more cattle from the Tablelands being bought by southern buyers if that focus on aiming at what the market is after continues to grow."
Contributing to his cattle's success has been a pasture cropping rotation, most of which was inspired by his local federal MP.
"I was recommended Creeping Vigna by a couple of people for its nutritional benefits and the fact it thrives in this sort of climate," Mr Crowther said.
"Funnily enough, one of the people who really recommended it to me was my local member Warren Entsch, who told me it would do a good job and I'm happy to say he was right.
"I've been able to source a lot of seed from Northern NSW but in saying that, a neighbour of mine has got it and believes it has pretty much grown naturally.
"I think that could be to do with the level of how much the paddocks have been eaten down because it does flourish in paddocks that have been chewed down more than others."
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