Fo­cussing on the north

Stud breed­ers in Queens­land unite to bet­ter serve the north­ern in­dus­try

Warwick Daily News - South West Queensland Rural Weekly - - News - AN­DREA DAVY An­drea.davy@ru­ral­weekly.com.au

WHILE there is much di­vide within the stud in­dus­try among dif­fer­ent breeds and ven­dors, a few stud breed­ers in Queens­land have de­cided to band to­gether.

For them, it makes sense to be united as they all share the same goal – to breed bulls per­fectly suited for the north­ern Aus­tralian mar­ket.

Jim Ed­wards and Len Gibbs are the founders of the Queens­lan­der Cat­tle Breed So­ci­ety, a group that sell bulls to pro­duc­ers in the Kim­ber­ley.

Com­bined, the two gra­ziers have more than 80 years of ex­pe­ri­ence in the cat­tle in­dus­try and this week the good friends caught up with the Ru­ral Weekly to talk through how the stud so­ci­ety came to be.

Al­though both cur­rently based in Queens­land on sep­a­rate prop­er­ties, Jim run­ning Bar­lyne Pas­toral at Gayn­dah and Len with Muar Brah­man Stud at Biggen­den, the pair have strong ties to the north.

Jim grew up work­ing on sta­tions in WA, and for about 30 years made a liv­ing as a con­tract fixed-wing mus­ter­ing pi­lot.

He later owned and ran two sta­tions in the Pil­bara be­fore mov­ing east to set­tle at Gayn­dah.

And Len, whose cat­tle prop­erty has been in fam­ily hands for 116 years, has been sell­ing bulls to north­ern mar­kets for decades.

“I had a yarn with Len, and we re­alised we were both go­ing in the same di­rec­tion with our cat­tle, so we thought we would should do some­thing about it,” Jim said.

“We have found north­ern pro­duc­ers like red cat­tle, that are polled with pink noses.”

A clean coat, short hair, thick­ness of mus­cle and a quiet tem­per­a­ment is also a ne­ces­sity.

“So af­ter a few years we took cat­tle through to the Fitzroy sale,” he said.

Fitzroy Cross­ing’s first sale, held in 2006, was or­gan­ised to cel­e­brate the Pas­toral and Graz­ing As­so­ci­a­tion of West­ern Aus­tralia’s 100th year.

“A fel­low called Harold Sealy, from Far­mWorks, called to see if we could sup­ply some bulls on short no­tice,” he said.

“It was a fairly in­tense time, but we got them all to­gether and the sale went off rea­son­ably well.”

The Queens­lan­der Cat­tle Breed So­ci­ety has car­ried on with the an­nual sale and helped grow the num­ber of bulls sold from 130 head in its first year, to now pre­par­ing an es­ti­mated 260 for auc­tion this year.

Bos indi­cus blood­lines are still the most pop­u­lar for north­ern pro­duc­ers.

“There are usu­ally about 13 dif­fer­ent ven­dors that go to Fitzroy, mainly there are red brah­mans, grey brah­mans, drought­mas­ters ... there are also some char­brays and bran­gus there as well,” he said.

“Re­ally, the sale was to give ev­ery­one who wanted dif­fer­ent types of cat­tle the chance at get­ting those cat­tle.

“Drought­mas­ters are still

It will be years in the mak­ing – it will be a gen­er­a­tional thing. — Jim Ed­wards

the most pop­u­lar be­cause they are tried and true.”

While mem­bers of the Queens­lan­der Cat­tle Breed So­ci­ety know their mar­ket well, get­ting to the mar­ket, which is about 4000km away, can be a lo­gis­ti­cal hur­dle.

All up, the trip takes about a week and in­volves “all the pa­per work un­der the sun”, Jim joked.

“It has al­ways been a chal­lenge. But we are get­ting pretty ex­pert at it now,” he said.

“We are al­ready pre­par­ing for 12 decks of bulls to go over in Au­gust for this year.”

The cat­tle are first trucked to Mitchell, where they are swapped over onto road trains, then head to Clon­curry, where they get a good 24 hours of rest.

“Then they go onto Kather­ine, where they have an­other 48-hour rest, then the go through to the bor­der, have all their bor­der treat­ments there, then go through to Fitzroy.

“By this stage we are heav­ily in­volved with them, we nor­mally camp with them along the way.”

Jim said the cat­tle han­dle the trip re­mark­ably well.

“Most cat­tle these days are used to be­ing on and off trucks,” he said.

So far Jim and Len are pleased to see how the Queens­lan­der Cat­tle Breed So­ci­ety is track­ing.

Two years ago the so­ci­ety be­came in­cor­po­rated.

“For me and Len, we will only see the start of it if this does take off. It will be years in the mak­ing – it will be a gen­er­a­tional type thing,” he said.

Jim’s two adult chil­dren are both in­volved with the cat­tle in­dus­try, as well as Len’s son and four grand­kids. Search “Queens­lan­der Cat­tle Breed So­ci­ety” on Face­book for more in­for­ma­tion.

TOP BULL: Bar­lyne Yandi­coogina sold to War­ram­bie Sta­tion for $7250 at the Fitzroy Cross­ing Bull Sale. PHOTO: GE­ORGIE CON­NOR PHO­TOG­RA­PHY

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

Jim Ed­wards with his mum, who was 97 at the time, at the Fitzroy Cross­ing Bull Sale.

PHOTO: GE­ORGIE CON­NOR PHO­TOG­RA­PHY

Muan bull 5196 sold to Yougawalla Sta­tion for $3750.

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