Charbray Association Australia


QCL Press Release - September 2011

National Charbray Sale highlights breed gains

CHARBRAY Society of Australia President Matt Welsh has called on producers looking for ease of management and consistency in their breeding operations to consider attending the 34th National Charbray Bull and Female Sale at Rockhampton on Wednesday, September 21.

Lot 30 E6096 Colinta Edgar
Lot 30 E6096 - Colinta Edgar

Mr Welsh said Charbray seedstock producers had made significant gains in their breeding programs over the past decade, ensuring the breed had become one that commercial cattlemen could rely on.

“I’d encourage any producers who are interested in Charbray cattle but haven’t made that first step yet, just to come along to the sale and see the consistency we now have in our product,” he said.

“If you are looking for ease of management and versatility the Charbray breed is now a real option and I’d encourage producers to come along and see how far the breed has come.”

“This sale offers buyers a great variety of genetics at a range of prices and I feel confident in saying there would be a bull for all buyers at this venue.”

The sale will feature 102 bulls and four registered females, drawn from 22 dedicated vendors from across Queensland and northern NSW.

Mr Welsh said buyers could expect to see plenty of top quality, commercially focused bulls pass through the sale ring.

“These are breeders who truly believe in their breeding programs and they only have that commitment because they can see what the Charbray breed can offer in their own paddocks,” Mr Welsh said.

“I think their commitment will be validated by the quality of the bulls and females on offer at the sale this year.”

Mr Welsh said the Charbray breed had enjoyed some excellent exposure in the rural media over the past 12 months, with Charbray cattle consistently topping store sales and claiming major prizes at hotly contested carcase competitions. He said the modern Charbray had proved it had all the essential qualities and credentials to become the standout breed in Australia.

“Our membership has continued to grow over the past 12 months which just highlights the growing interest in Charbray cattle,” he said.

Held at the Central Queensland Livestock Exchange (CQLX), the sale will start at 10am and all measurable data will be available on the day.

A meet and greet will also be held on Tuesday evening from 6.30 to 8.30pm at the Sunpalms Motel Function Room for all buyers, vendors, agents and supporters.

Catalogues are available by phoning the Charbray office on 1300 242 727 or by visiting


Relief and anger as live trade re-opens - August 2011

Relief and anger as live trade re-opens
By Penelope Arthur

Northern Territory cattleman Murray Webster is relieved the Federal Government’s ban on live exports to Indonesia has been lifted but says the damage done to the northern beef industry will take far longer to heal.

Murray Webster and his wife Gillian contract services to FHT Pastoral in the Northern Territory, running around 4000 commercial Brahman breeders on Forrest Hill at Larrimah, 178km south of Katherine. The company also owns Jarrahdale and Napier Valley, 30km southwest of Katherine, where most of the FHT Pastoral steers and cull heifers are finished for the live trade out of Darwin.

Charbray cattle

Charbray bulls have been used in the herd for the past eight years, to increase weaning weights and produce ideal F1 replacement heifers. Mr Webster said northern producers had been left in limbo while the live export market was suspended.

“It basically shut down our operation overnight,” he said.

“Because of our proximity to Katherine we are fortunate to be able to trade through the wet but we still had about 2500 weaners that we were ready to make a move on and we just had to shut down and wait and see what happened.”

“Even thought the ban has been lifted there has still been a major impact in terms of cash flow – we were getting up to 210c/kg before the ban and now the market has reopened at just 165c/kg.”

“That’s a significant loss from a cash flow point of view and the ramifications of that were not just felt by beef producers but by businesses and workers in towns like Katherine all over the northern Australia.”

Mr Webster said there is still plenty of anger and angst in the Northern Territory over the Government’s decision to suspend live exports to Indonesia without warning.

“I think people are angry that certain bodies that are supposed to represent us didn’t do more”, he said.

“But more than that I think people are angry that the government is being dictated to by minority groups.”

“They didn’t taken into account that we look after a living breathing entity that cannot be suspended from living or shut down over night ,we still have to do our business of keeping our herds functioning.”

“There was no doubting what we saw on Four Corners that night but there were a lot of businesses in Indonesia that were penalised when they were doing the right thing and that’s not fair.”

Mr Webster said northern beef producers were now focused on rebuilding their industry.

“We know our best market is to the north and it’s important that we focus on our future there,” he said.

“Selling cattle south isn’t a real option for us – I think there are enough cattle in the south to service those markets already.”

“We have a lot of issues to sort through and I think we probably need to take charge of our own industry a little better.”

The FHT Pastoral operation also includes a herd of 40 registered Charbray cows and 250 registered Grey Brahman cows, producing bulls for the annual TMG Brahman and Charbray sale in Katherine. Mr Webster is currently preparing around 70 Brahman bulls and 10 Charbray bulls for the sale in Katherine on August 24. He said FHT Pastoral had been using Charbray genetics for the past eight years and had been impressed with the extra weight in the Charbray cross weaners.

“We basically use the Charbray’s for their weight and growth and we’ve found they have helped us turn more weaners straight off their mothers onto the boats,” he said.

“The trick is to get the right balance when it comes to fertility, muscle and growth.”

“We try to breed a smaller, more moderate type of Charbray – it’s important that the cows don’t get too big because their nutritional requirements won’t suit this country.”

Like most producers in the north, the FHT Pastoral annual mustering, weaning and branding program was delayed this year by an exceptionally long wet season.

Ideally, Mr Webster would have weaned the first of FHT calves in April or May but the entire program was delayed because much of their country remained too wet to muster.

Mr Webster said they run a “fairly routine” operation.

“We stick to the basics and do the things that count well - fertility, production and healthy land.”

“We have been waiting to see how things worked out with the live export market but now we’ll start mustering to brand and wean the larger calves.”

“The tops of our weaners usually go straight off their mothers into the live export market – the rest go to Jarrahdale and Napier Valley until they reach around 330kg.” “Brahman, Charolais and Charbray genetics are very powerful tools to have in the cupboard and when they are blended skillfully and matched to the environment they are run in the results are rewarding and very profitable.”


Commercial trader at a Glance - August 2011

Name: Wayne and Tracey Ferriday
Location: Kenilworth district
Herd size: aim to finish up to 300 steers annually
Rainfall: high rainfall region
Target market: domestic trade

Charbray’s hit the mark for Kenilworth traders

THE growth in the popularity of the Charbray breed has proved a blessing for Kenilworth commercial trader Wayne Ferriday. Working in partnership with his wife Tracey and son John, Mr Ferriday aims to finish up to 300 steers a year for the domestic market on 162ha in the Kenilworth district in south east Queensland.

Mr Ferriday prefers to buy Charbray steers for his finishing operation and says the increasing popularity of the breed has meant bigger numbers of Charbray cattle available at local markets.

“There seem to be so many more around now and the quality is better than it has been in earlier years,” he said.

“I prefer to buy Charbray steers because they are fairly fast growing and they deliver excellent weight gains.”

“They do the job very well for us.”

Mr Ferriday grew up in the Kenilworth area where his father, Wally Ferriday, is a well known auctioneer for Boxsells Livestock and Reality. Mr Ferriday initially bred cattle, but moved to a trading operation when his contract fencing business began to command more time away from the property.

These days the Ferriday’s source steers from local selling centres such as the Gympie Saleyards, aiming to buy steers over 350kg. The steers are grown out on grass and then either grain assisted on the home property at Kenilworth or custom fed at private feedlots in the Murgon district.

Mr Ferriday says he aims to get weight gains of 2kg/day with his grain assisted steers.

“You need to be getting those sort of weight gains and I find good quality Charbray’s will achieve better gains than some other breeds,” he said.

The Ferriday’s have even had some success in the show ring with their Charbray steers. Earlier this year John Ferriday took a Charbray cross steer to the Gympie Show where it was named Champion Prime Beast.

“We actually won the same award at Gympie in 2010 as well,” Mr Ferriday said.

“It’s largely due to the efforts of our son John – he became interested in showing prime cattle at school and it’s just continued on from there.”


Richard and Helen Golden - April 2011

Charbray’s set the bar
By Penelope Arthur

It’s certainly no secret that Charbray cattle have been attracting significant premiums at selling centres around Queensland for several years now.

Yuleba graziers Richard and Helen Golden are one couple who know just how significant the Charbray premiums can be in the saleyards.

For the past ten years, the Golden family have offered their annual weaner drop through a weekly Roma Store Sale, promoting their mostly Charbray weaners extensively through newspapers and online leading up to the sale.

Charbray Heifers in Sale Ring

Mr Golden said the sale result always reflected his belief that a quality and consistent line of Charbray weaners will always attract a solid premium.

“We first stared doing this ten years ago and we quickly discovered that when selling weaners through the saleyards the Charbray’s were the standout when it came to presentation and price,” he said.

“The premium we get the Charbray’s is generally around that 15-20c/kg live – on a good quality weaner that’s a lot of money.”

The Golden family started breeding Charbray cattle after destocking their property, Potters Flat, north of Yuleba in 2001.

The family had traditional bred full British cattle and Mr Golden said they were forced to make some tough decisions about their entire breeding and marketing program.

“We had to take a hard look at our operation and we decided that we wanted to use mainly Brahman females and use Charolais as a terminal sire to produce those good creamy calves that sell so well,” he said.

“We initially decided not to keep replacement heifers and opted to buy breeders because despite the difficulties of getting breeders it is still more profitable not to keep the heifers.”

“This year we have leased some extra country which has meant we were able to keep around 300 replacement heifers which will be a huge help in maintaining consistent quality in the line.”

“We are focusing on keeping the high Bos Indicus content heifers so that we get an even line of Charbray type weaners right through.”

Mr Golden said turning off Charbray cattle alone isn’t enough to attract a premium and warned producers still need to ensure they strive for quality.

“It’s not a way of saving yourself if you have rubbish cattle,” he said.

“But if you can put together a long line of attractive, quality, Charbray types you will get a premium in the saleyards.”

Mr Golden isn’t alone in his belief that Charbray’s draw the eye of buyers.

Elders Rockhampton livestock manager Paul Wells said Charbray’s also sell very well through the Gracemere Saleyards.

“We had some Charbray steers sell in early May that made 260c/kg at 255kg to come back at around $660/head,” he said.

“It depends on what buyers are there on the day but usually they Charbray’s attract a solid premium here.”

At the annual Toogoolawah Weaner Sale, Charbray weaners are also proving popular with both vendors and buyers.

“The Charbray’s are becoming very popular in the Brisbane Valley and we have noticed that the Charbray cattle seem to be gaining ground every year,” Shepherdson & Boyd principal Dick Boyd said.


Russell Curran - Condamine - April 2011

Feedlot add value at Condamine
By Penelope Arthur

CONDAMINE Charbray breeder Russell Curran says the addition of an on-farm feedlot to his family’s beef business fifteen years ago was a major turning point for their operation.

The Curran family own two properties in southern Queensland, the 1620ha Benwerrin at Condamine and the 4000ha Kanandah at Glenmorgan, along with Clairview Station at Clairview in central Queensland. They use the Glenmorgan and Clairview properties as breeding blocks for their commercial and stud Brahman and Charbray herds, bringing all steers and cull heifers back to Condamine for backgrounding before they are finished in the 500 head on-farm feedlot.

Mr Curran said the family established the feedlot around fifteen years ago to enable them to value add to their steers and cull heifers before they left the property. He said the feedlot also provides crucial feedback about the performance of their stud bulls. “We find the feedlot to be a real plus just for value adding to all our cattle before they are turned off but in recent years it has also become a great way to evaluate our bulls,” he said.

“Technology such as electronic identification has been a huge help and we have developed our own computer program that enables us to keep track of all our animals and record the information that is relevant to us.”

The Curran family run around 200 stud Brahman cows and 100 stud Charbray cows, selling around 60 bulls a year under the Spenbar Stud name. They established the Spenbar Brahman Stud in 1980 and began breeding Charbray bulls in 1990 to take advantage of growing interest in the breed. Spenbar Charbray bulls are sold privately out of the paddock and through selected annual sales such as the National Charbray bull and female sale in Rockhampton in September.

Mr Curran said he’s been encouraged by strong interest in the Charbray breed in recent years.

“The Charbray is a great combination – it has the pest resistance, fat coverage and mobility of the Brahman breed, and yet retains the softness, rapid weight gain, fertility and mothering of the Charolais,” he said.

“We’ve been particularly impressed by our Charbray calves at weaning – they are normally 50kg heavier than the Brahmans thanks to that hybrid vigor.”

The Curran’s also run 1200 Brahman and Charbray commercial breeders and aim to finish around 1000 head through the feedlot each year.

Steers enter the feedlot on Benwerrin at 350-400kg and spend approximately 100 days on a sorghum silage ration. They are sold at around 600kg, usually to the Green Mountain processing works at Biggenden.

The Curran family have been targeting the MSA market for the past eight years and have been pleased with both the ability of their cattle to grade MSA and the premiums offered for MSA cattle.

“We find our cattle do very well in the MSA market – particularly our Charbrays which also record very good weight gains through the feedlot,” he said.

“We also send a body truck of our premium Charbray steers to Jack Purcell Meats in Brisbane about twice a year and they always grade MSA.”

“We get a lot of great feedback about our cattle through that market.”

The Curran family single sire mate all year round with all calves, both stud and commercial, individually mothered and their parentage recorded.

“This ensures that when steers or cull heifers come into the feedlot we know exactly who their mother was and who their sire was,” Mr Curran said.

“We don’t handle the cattle once the come into the feedlot – they go in for 100 days and we don’t handle them again until that time is up but once they leave the feedlot we record their weight and daily weight gain.”

“When they are sold we also record their dressing percentage.”

“Then we can use all this information to see if there is a bull that is producing progeny that are underperforming.”

Mr Curran said he’s been particularly focused on dressing percentage in recent years and has been aiming to identify bulls that produce calves with the highest possible dressing percentage.

“We think dressing percentage is a something that the industry has not really focused on yet,” he said.

“You can have two animals that leave the feedlot at the same weight but have different dressing percentages which could mean a different of $100 a head between the two.”

“We have focused heavily on identifying bulls that aren’t performing in this area in recent years and we think that, across the board, it is starting to work.”

“If bulls are found to be under the average we don’t use them again in our herd.”

The Benwerrin feedlot was spared the worst of the flooding that devastated Condamine earlier this year although the Curran’s Glenmorgan property, which has 6km of frontage to the Condamine River, sustained significant pasture and fencing damage.

Mr Curran said they still haven’t been able to carry out a muster on Kanandah at Glenmorgan but he is expecting stock losses.

“At Glenmorgan we had 2000 acres (810ha) underwater for about a month and all that country just looks like it had a fire through it,” he said.

“It’s just black stubble – even some of the Brigalow trees have died.”

“In some sections where the Condamine River comes across the country, the grass is completely covered by sand.”

“We are just waiting to do a muster to check for missing stock but I’d say we’ve have some losses.”

The floods also bought strong waves of sand and Buffalo fly that have result in some loss of condition in cattle. Overall however, Mr Curran said he’s been pleased with how his cattle handled the conditions.

“In particular I think the Chabrays handled the conditions a lot better than some Euro or British breeds might have,” he said.


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Charbray Association Australia