Fam­ily with life­long pas­sion for breed­ing

Central and North Rural Weekly - - FRONT PAGE - CANDYCE BRAITH­WAITE Candyce.braith­waite@apn.com.au

WITH two kids un­der four, 2600 hectares and about 1000 head of cat­tle, it’s fair to say this young cou­ple has a bit on their plate.

But Jamie and Ally Becker wouldn’t have it any other way, with a life­long pas­sion for agri­cul­ture run­ning through their veins.

The own­ers of Ja­mally Santa Gertrudis are lo­cated just out­side Ta­room at the southern end of the Daw­son Val­ley in cen­tral Queens­land.

The 33-year-olds run 400 head of santa gertrudis breed­ers as well as aim­ing to pro­duce at least 12 stud bulls a year.

With­out any staff on the prop­erty, Jack, 3, and Annabelle, 1, also get dragged out into the pad­dock with their mum and dad.

“We do as much as we can our­selves,” Jamie said.

“We mostly have all our own ma­chin­ery to do farm­ing and earth­works.

“We also grow crops as well. Ear­lier in the year we put in 105 hectares of oats, some­thing to fin­ish the steers and sale bulls on.”

Jamie’s fam­ily have been run­ning the santa gertrudis breed for 25 years with his par­ents Ge­off and Meg pur­chas­ing their first santa bull in 1994.

Ja­mally Santa Gertrudis was es­tab­lished in 2006, with the foun­da­tion herd made up of cows pur­chased from Gyranda, Dan­garfield and Santa Park and the stud sires pre­dom­i­nately Yar­ra­wonga bulls.


Just last year Jamie and Ally pur­chased the prop­erty Alkoomie from Jamie’s par­ents.

Alkoomie con­sists of mainly briga­low and soft­wood scrub soils de­vel­oped to im­proved pas­tures be­ing pre­dom­i­nantly buf­fel grass that re­lies on sum­mer rain­fall.

“It gets be­low zero and frosts here and it can also get up to 40 de­grees,” Jamie said.

“When Cy­clone Deb­bie went through in April we got about 65mm. It was a God sent to our cur­rent sea­son, the timing of it couldn’t have been any bet­ter, wasn’t too late so we could still grow some grass go­ing into win­ter.

“The last few years have been dry, a num­ber be­low av­er­age, we av­er­age around 24–26 inches a year and pre­vi­ous we were get­ting un­der 15.”


Ja­mally sells its bulls in Septem­ber at the Wan­doan Santa Gertrudis Bull Sale which is part of the Big Red Santa Week. Jamie is the cur­rent pres­i­dent of the or­gan­i­sa­tion.

“It’s a hard game when you’re just new start­ing out,” he said.

“Our bulls have sold for a top of around $9500.

“We topped the Wan­doan sale in 2014, selling Ja­mally Me­ga­tron to Ce­lamba Santa Gertrudis stud for $8500.

“Ja­mally Garfield sold to Dan­garfield in 2012, a larger stud and he’s done the job for them.

“In 2014 we pur­chased a $28,000 ho­mozy­gous polled bull, Moon­gana Mer­lin I2348.

“We re­ally wanted to invest in our stud and have goals to breed the best bulls we pos­si­bly can, that in turn go out and do a good job for our clients.”


Jamie and Ally both grew up in cen­tral Queens­land.

Jamie fin­ished Year 12 and started work­ing for his par­ents.

“I al­ways en­joyed go­ing to the bull sales,” he said.

“I would ac­tively se­lect the bulls with Dad.

“When we pur­chased the prop­erty off Mum and Dad, we bought their cat­tle, a pure santa gertrudis herd, from them as well. We’re re­ally proud to be grad­ing some of those cows up and in­creas­ing our own stud herd – it also gives us a bit more ge­netic se­lec­tion too.”

Ally grew up in Roma be­fore mov­ing to Ta­room, com­ing

from a back­ground in poll here­fords. Ally’s great-grand­fa­ther founded the Lyn­d­ley Poll Here­ford Stud and help found the Poll Here­ford So­ci­ety, so bull breed­ing is in her blood. Ally went to Bris­bane for univer­sity to be­come a char­tered ac­coun­tant be­fore mov­ing back to Rockhampton and meet­ing up with Jamie.

“We still run a few here­fords to keep Ally happy,” Jamie joked.


Jamie and Ally place a mas­sive em­pha­sis upon fer­til­ity as well as growth and tem­per­a­ment.

“The cows are preg tested an­nu­ally, any not in calf are sold and any cows that don’t bring a calf to brand­ing are also sold, this ap­plies for all breed­ers,” Ally said.

“Be­cause we mainly sin­gle sire, any bulls that fail an­nual vet check/se­men test­ing are also sold.

“Al­though Jamie has been man­ag­ing Alkoomie since 2012 and mak­ing breed­ing de­ci­sions since we pur­chased it, we are fo­cus­ing on short­en­ing the mat­ing pe­riod and en­sur­ing heifers get in calf as early as pos­si­ble and calve as two year olds.

“They are only put with the bull for 12 weeks and last year we tri­alled a fixed time AI pro­gram util­is­ing fresh se­men. The Ja­mally bulls for this year’s sale have been on oats and will be vet checked and se­men tested be­fore the sale.

“They’ve had their vac­ci­na­tions and we’re busy tak­ing pho­tos.”

“We re­ally pride our­selves on tem­per­a­ment. I’ve al­ways en­joyed spend­ing time with cat­tle. We’ve al­ways had a few we’re able to give a lit­tle pat,” Jamie said.

“It’s some­thing we look for when pur­chas­ing bulls too.”

Jamie said while the prop­erty has had a few tough years weather wise the cat­tle mar­ket prices had held them in good stead.

“The pes­simist in me says it’s only go­ing to last for so long,” he said.

“Last year’s steers off a bad sea­son still made $1800 a head at 310kg dressed weight PCAS/EU.

“We sold heifers too when it was re­ally dry and they still fetched $1500 as feed­ers.”

The Becker’s sell di­rect to Teys at Con­damine or JBS abat­toirs.


Ear­lier this year Jamie attended a young breed lead­ers work­shop in Bris­bane.

“It mainly fo­cused on ge­nomics and the beef in­dus­try go­ing for­ward,” Jamie said.

“We’re not reg­is­tered with BREEDPLAN but it’s def­i­nitely some­thing in the back of our mind. We’ve steered away from it be­cause of­ten it’s hard to get ac­cu­rate in­for­ma­tion with a small herd, how­ever when you’re pick­ing bulls it’s a pretty use­ful tool though.

“It’s in­cred­i­ble the amount of in­for­ma­tion you can get just from a hair sam­ple.

“Tech­nol­ogy is get­ting bet­ter and bet­ter all the time. It’s good to go to these work­shops and learn about it and be able to make your own in­formed de­ci­sions.”


Jamie and Ally have an un­break­able pas­sion for the beef in­dus­try.

“Our pas­sion in life is the cat­tle, the coun­try and our chil­dren and go­ing for­ward we would like to buy more coun­try and ex­pand the herd,” Ally said.

“We do the cat­tle work to­gether and the kids come down to the yards and play in the sand­pit.

“Hope­fully our kids are in­ter­ested in the in­dus­try one day.”

❝We re­ally wanted to invest in our stud and have goals to breed the best bulls we pos­si­bly can, that in turn go out and do a good job for our clients. — Jamie Becker

Ally Becker loves Ja­mally Santa Gertrudis’ young fam­ily. prop­erty, cat­tle and a jug­gling the

THE HERD: Just a few of the Ja­mally Santa Gertrudis breed­ers.

FO­CUS ON SANTAS: Jamie Becker from Ta­room has been breed­ing santa gertrudis cat­tle his whole life.

UP AND COMER: The Becker’s three-year-old son Jack.


FAM­ILY OP­ER­A­TION: The Beck­ers’ pas­sions in life are their chil­dren, their cat­tle and the land. Pic­tured here are Jamie and Ally Becker with their chil­dren Jack and Annabelle.

MUM’S THE WORD: Ally has been around cat­tle her whole life, orig­i­nally with poll here­fords and now santa gertrudis.

Ja­mally pride them­selves on the qual­ity of their breed­ers.

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