Charbray Association Australia


The Vital Ingredient

The Vital Ingredient

As Red Meat producers we are listening to our consumers. Our aim is to grow our animals thoughtfully on their journey from paddock to plate and to produce eating quality from an ethical and sustainable breeding program.

This journey starts in the paddock, does this mean we need to consider the adaptability of a cattle breed’s genetics to be able to survive in the extremes of our climate? It has been said that survivability merges into eating quality; kind to the country, kind to the cattle, kind to the product, kind to the consumer.

Australian Cattle Breeds are divided into two main groups, Bos Taurus and Bos Indicus. Bos Taurus breeds are known for their temperament and are best suited to the cooler. Bos Indicus breeds are recognised for their foraging ability, low birth weights, parasite resistance and their adaptability to extremes in temperatures. Therefore, would it not make sense to combine Bos Taurus and Bos Indicus genetics to produce a breed designed with superior performance qualities.

Back in the late 1960’s that was exactly the thoughts of a man named George Robertson who instigated this marriage of genetics with the help of Professor Des Dowling, this was undertaken at the Gatton Agricultural College in Qld. The result, CHARBRAY a tropical breed that has built in Hybrid Vigor. This is the performance advantage that Charbray wield over their foundation parentage.

Fast forward 50 plus years and Charbray has a solid breeding plan that produces Pure Charbray cattle that display these superior qualities of both Bos Taurus and Bos Indicus genetics.

Charbray and Charbray infused cattle consistently make the headlines of market reports, their marketability at all stages of growth with weight for age providing flexibility and valuable cash options. They have a higher reproductive edge, more calves weaned for cows mated. Whether its grain or grass they are grading MSA.

The selection of top genetics has long been recognised as a vital ingredient in any beef operation. It is common knowledge that Bulls with depth of breeding will produce a quality line of cattle. It is also common knowledge that the more cattle are bred up genetically, the more softness, fat coverage and marbling is attainable.

Historical figures have proven that a developed Charbray Pedigree is not only delivering consistency in progeny type but more importantly much greater heritability of those important traits, Fat cover, Muscling and above all Temperament.

This is where the Charbray Society of Australia has given its Members the advantage by the creation of a breed plan that is transparent and shows buyers the depth of their linage through a grading system that takes you from the initial foundation progeny to a Charbray Bred grading of C4, C5 and C6. This breed plan allows today’s cattlemen/women to select the correct type of Charbray genetics to complement their herd and know what they are going to get when their next lot of calves drop.

 3 Charbray Bulls progeny.

The “Vital Ingredient” is genetically bred Charbray Seed Stock by Certified Charbray Breeders. Proven genetics delivering established consistency in growth, softness, fertility and temperament.

Charbrays on front hoof for future

Charbrays on front hoof for future
By Lucy Ziesemer   

For all intents and purposes being hands-on in the beef industry is about finding the grit to ride the highs and lows successfully.

Despite various negative external influences, the Charbray breed is rising to the forefront in adaptability and suitability at all stages of the production cycle. Allied Beef sales and marketing general manager Grant Haddin, Toowoomba, can attest to this with progression and optimal results leading his company’s charge within the industry.

Mr Haddin said while he often saw merit in sticking to what you know in order to achieve longevity, the Australian beef industry’s ‘vicious cycle’ of reliance on seasons meant producers now needed to embrace adaptability.

“Being based in Queensland I am in contact with the Charbray breed in all aspects on a regular basis,” he said.

“Compared to other breeds Charbrays offer the unique opportunity to accommodate most premium markets."

“Top store sale results in Queensland often rally around Charbray cattle. They suit premium domestic feeder markets plus are ideal cattle to take on to export weights on grass or grain.”

Mr Haddin noted the softness Charbrays brought to the Euro breed and their subsequent success in carcase quality and grading.

“Charbray cattle also suit live export specifications and in a lot of cases they are the preferred breed for importers- they are a complete package.”

Livestock manager at Oakey Beef Exports Kurt Wockner has very direct access to all types of cattle in his role and was able to offer insight into the Charbray breed’s market suitability.

He said his company sees Charbray cattle at their processing facility on a daily basis.

“We particularly like the softness in them and their impressive weight for age. They also have a highly desirable ease of finishing in a tough season, which we’re requiring more and more in today’s seasonal conditions,” Mr Wockner said.

“The breed has seen great development in recent years- they’ve undergone significant improvement in depth, volume and softness as well as temperament.”

Mr Wockner said Charbrays were increasingly becoming a one size fits all breed.

“Charbray cattle represent a highly versatile breed that suit a number of beef operations and offer great diversity, which is particularly attractive to producers in the north of Australia,” he said.

“They (Charbrays) suit a great variation of demographic locations and different types of breeding enterprises.”

Charbray Bulls.

Mr Wockner noted about 15 per cent of cattle through the Oakey processing facility were of Charbray content with most currently arriving from bullock finishers in the Taroom area and feedlots on the Darling Downs.

With such confidence in the breed from the powers that be, producers can feel positive about the years to come.

Mr Haddin said for the reasons previously quoted, he could see the popularity of the breed getting stronger.

“I am more than happy to recommend the Charbray breed to any producer large or small,” he said.

“It’s hard to find another breed that ticks as many boxes as the Charbray when you consider market versatility and scope.”

Charbray Wins Best of Breed Competition

Charbray Best of Breed.

Another notch for Charbray proves the solid position the breed has gained in the market
which has been amplified over recent years with the stabilizing of their genetics by Certified Charbray Breeders.

When the Charbray breed was invited to participate in the Norman Hotel’s best breed promotion the Charbray Society embraced the chance to deliver a Charbray branded article.

The Norman Hotel famously describes itself as "Brisbane's worst vegetarian restaurant, and the #1 Steakhouse in Brisbane." Put simply, they're passionate about the steak that dominates their menu. The competition was undoubtedly fierce with Charbray, Shorthorn, Hereford and Santa Gertrudis vying for the top gong. In its 4th year the competition asked diners to rate the steak on their plate with a score between 1 and 10 for Flavour, Tenderness and Overall Like.
The Norman Hotel’s best breed initiative has not only allowed Charbray breeders to proudly fly their flag, it is also an invaluable platform showcasing home grown Australian beef.

Avid supporters of the best breed promotion, JBS Australia, purchased the Charbray bred cattle out of Central Queensland and the South Burnett to be fed at their Beef City feedlot for 120 days. JBS Australia’s Denis Conroy said “JBS feeds a lot of Charbray cattle on grain and they do the job quite consistently.” All steers were killed in mid-August and then aged for six weeks, before delivery to the Norman Hotel. 

The Norman Hotels Executive Chef Frank Correnti, who is also a regular RNA branded beef judge, said he couldn’t fault the performance of the marble score 1+ Charbray cuts off the grill.

Charbray Society of Australia president Les Marshall, Greenfields Charbrays, Jambin, said the win was a monumental “feather in the Charbray breed’s cap.” “It is common knowledge that the more cattle are bred up genetically the more softness, fat coverage and marbling is attainable, and breeders can be very proud of their cattle performing so well and grading quite comfortably.” “We promote the fact that Charbrays are every bit as capable of providing world class meat to the consumer as any other breed, but this win proves that beyond a doubt,” he said.

The win caps off an impressive year for Charbrays performance and eating quality. The inaugural Charbray Feedlot Trial held at Nolan Meats’ Waterfall facility earlier this year saw the breed achieve MSA grading for 119 beasts out of 121 entered. Keppel Bay Sailing Club together with Yeppoon Central Meats went on to feature this Charbray meat on their menu and in their cabinet for the month of September culminating in a sold-out dinner at the end of September.

Yeppoon Central Meats are well known for featuring aged cuts. The Charbray primals were aged for two and a half months from kill date to being put into the cabinet for sale. Butcher Zen Kona commented “consumer feedback was excellent, customers loved the flavour and tenderness, you could not fault. I myself was blown away by the quality, tenderness and taste. We put many breeds over the counter however to say Charbray was popular is an understatement. We sold Rib Fillet,
T. Bone, Sirloin, Rump, Eye Fillet, Beef Cheeks and Beef Ribs, the quality was faultless. We would like to have Charbray branded meat available year-round as customers are asking for it.” he said.

Keppel Bay Sailing Club Manager Julie Strudwick said “we had great feedback on the quality of Charbray meat that was served on our menu during September, our chefs were impressed; no matter the cut we served from the Beef Cheek all the way through, Charbray brought tenderness and flavour to the plate. We had to turn people away from our sold-out gala dinner, our biggest ever held with 130 bookings.” she said.

The market already knows Charbray are the king when it comes to “Weight for Age” now we can add the eating quality gong to this versatile Breed.

Charbray Best of Breed.

The Momentum Continues to Build: September 2016

The Momentum Continues to Build

With an increased number of bulls catalogued, our 39th annual sale provides stud and commercial producers alike the opportunity to enhance and expand their genetic base through the superior offering of 114 bulls and 12 females. Presented by 23 certified Charbray breeders, buyers can invest with confidence knowing their purchase has been bred to selected criteria with the focus on creating an article to service all markets.

Confidence in the Charbray breed continues to gain momentum, with the success of the recent Inaugural Charbray and Charbray Infused Show and Sale in Monto providing strong testimony to the breed's popularity, marketability and ongoing capacity to command premiums. As Charbray Society of Australia President Les Marshall explained, the event provided a snapshot of the right ingredient.

"There are some very progressive breeders in that region who are putting up the right article. They are market focused and keen on breeding an article that performs across the board, from the paddock to the selected market. It was a tremendous line-up of cattle from weaners to bullocks – the quality was very superior and the Charbray Society is grateful to the organizers Brad and Donna McInally of Monto Cattle and Country for their generous support," Les said.

'The outstanding success of the Monto event, combined with the current buoyant conditions of the cattle industry in general, will no doubt drive interest at our National Sale which is a showcase from producers committed to perfecting the genetic base in their herd. Remember, consistency is the key and good females are just as important as good bulls."

Nowhere were the benefits from investing in good genetics more evident than in the Champion Pen of Steers at the recent Monto Charbray and Charbray Infused Show and Sale exhibited by seed stock and commercial producer Steve Pailthorpe, 'Rangeview Charbrays', Monto. An avid National Sale supporter, Steve uses a combination of Rangeview, Greenfields and Wiluna bloodlines over his commercial herd.

Steve Pailthorpe with his Champion Pen of Steers, Monto 2016.

"It is really important to maintain a consistent quality of bloodlines. We achieve this by supporting the local Monto All Breeds Sale and of course the National Sale. Choosing good bulls from good herds equals a consistent article," explained Steve who is also a strong advocate of generational breeding.

"We are just Charbray over Charbray over Charbray. If you source your bulls with that objective in mind, the concept of generational breeding is made easy. "

Brad McInally summed up the Monto Charbray and Charbray Infused Show and Sale as follows: "It was as good a line as you would find anywhere. It's always so much easier to sell a line of cattle than a scattering of this or that. Here we had pen after pen of Charbray lines so buyers could fill their trucks with confidence."

So successful was the Monto event, organisers have decided to make it an annual event, with April 26, 2017 earmarked for the second show and sale which is open to anyone with an interest in Charbray cattle.

'Given the range of rewards and premiums associated with Charbray cattle, I'm sure National Sale supporters will take full advantage of the quality genetics on offer here at Rockhampton," Les said.

Performance Consistency Versatility: August 2016

Performance Consistency Versatility

By maximizing productivity in your herd you will boost profitability.

Charbrays are perfectly packaged to achieve this objective; the breed has been hugely successful in harnessing the traits of fertility, adaptability and performance; features which are essential in maximizing productivity.

We cannot change the environment in which our businesses operate, we can control the way the business is operated and one of the biggest influences is the type of cattle; the right genetics for that environment.

As a breed, Certified Charbray Breeders have developed a consistency of type that fits a range of markets, allowing producers not only to maximize production but to be shielded from market fluctuations.

Focus on productivity; or in other words maximizing the kilograms of beef produced in the long term.

The objective is through all seasonal and market conditions, to produce the most beef at the lowest cost. And cutting expenses alone is not the answer – it's more about scrutinizing and targeting expenditure so that every dollar spent returns the maximum amount.

The selection of top genetics has long been recognized as a vital ingredient in any beef operation. Bulls with good depth of breeding are meeting market demand with more reliability producing a better quality line of cattle.

Maximize your productivity by purchasing your Seed Stock from Certified Charbray Breeders who has nurtured, measured and developed their herd to selected criteria of Performance, Consistency and Versatility.

Recognize a Certified Charbray Breeder by this Trademark

All vendors at the 2016, 39th National Charbray Bull & Female Sale are recognized Certified Charbray Breeders. 10am 21st September @ CQLX Gracemere Qld.

Make Monto Your One Stop Shop for Charbrays: April 2016

Make Monto Your One Stop Shop for Charbrays

The lure of $17,000 worth of prizes is proving a strong incentive for supporters of the upcoming Inaugural Monto Cattle & Country Charbray Infused Prime and Store Cattle Show and Sale. Scheduled for Thursday, May 26, the event promises to provide a unique 'one-stop' opportunity for Charbray enthusiasts, with strong support already in place from some of the state's most dedicated breeders.

It's anticipated a full yarding of Charbray and Charbray infused cattle will make their way through the recently EU Accredited Monto Selling Complex for the event, which, to date, has secured sponsorship in excess of $17,000. Vendors offering 10 head or more of sale cattle are encouraged to enter the various show classes which include: Weaners to 12 Months of Age (steers and females); 12-20 Months (steers and females); 21 Months and Over (steers and females); Prime Steers/Females of any age; PTIC Females or Cows and Calves; Champion Male Pen and Champion Female Pen. Each class will have a Winner and a Runner-Up with a minimum of $1000 in total prizes. The Champion and Reserve Champion Pens will be rewarded from a total prize pool of $3000 in value.

Coordinators Brad and Donna McInally of Monto Cattle & Country said their decision to initiate an exclusive Charbray breed show and sale was a logical one given the outstanding demand for the breed in their region and beyond. The McInallys, who have enjoyed a lengthy involvement with Charbrays and the Charbray Society at both the local store/prime sale level as well as the Monto Annual All Breeds' Sale, are generously donating a percentage of commission from the inaugural sale to the Charbray Society for the on-going promotion of the breed.

Marketability, according to Brad, is the driving force behind the breed's popularity.

"Given the unquenchable demand for anything Charbray related we have no hesitation in initiating this inaugural event. This year alone, Charbrays have consistently topped the sales at Monto with weaner steers bringing between $850 - $980 per head. There is no denying the breed's popularity. They sell well – not only here in the North Burnett but in all saleyards across Queensland," Brad said.

"We are confident the event will satisfy a range of producers including those sourcing cattle to put back in the paddock or into feedlots, those wanting prime steers and females for meat works and replacement heifers for breeding. Cattle are already booked from Biloela, Gladstone, the Boyne Valley, Gin Gin, Eidsvold and Monto."

Charbray Society of Australia President Les Marshall shares Brad's enthusiasm for the upcoming event.

"The Society really appreciates the opportunity to join forces with Brad and Donna and we are certainly thrilled at this opportunity to promote our breed. It is great to see that today's buoyant cattle market is rewarding producers at the ground level. Beef production is complex, if we aim to run a profitable business one of the few tools which we have totally in our control is genetics. This sale gives us the opportunity to showcase Charbray and Charbray infused genetics, which as reported week after week, are out on their own when it comes to delivering results," Les said.

Veteran Charbray breeder Bruce Mikklesen of Wiluna Charbrays also commended Monto Cattle & Country on their initiative and urged fellow producers to capitalize upon the quality selection of Charbray stock on offer.

"Given the range and caliber of vendors, many of whom are seed stock producers, there will be a lot of good cattle available. Quality will be assured," Bruce said.

The day kicks off with judging at 8.30am, followed by presentations at 9.30am and the sale at 10am. A curfew will be in place from 7pm the previous day (Wednesday May 25).

Looking forward. Looking back. We've come a long way down the track: 2015

Looking forward…….

It is well known that a key ingredient of a successful breed society is its capacity for its seed stock producers to recognise and value each other's genetics.

This is a pleasing and growing pattern within Charbray Society and nowhere was it more evident than at this year's National Bull and Female sale, which saw a particularly strong level of genetic patronage exchanged between seed stock producers. Apart from the obvious kudos and benefits derived from the bolstered sale top and average prices, the scenario speaks volumes about our members' growing belief in their product and the extent to which the breed has advanced since its inception in Australia in the 1970s.

While at times it might have seemed like a slow slog in getting producers to recognise the benefits of Charbray genetics, times have definitely changed and the National Sale, along with other stand-alone sales, provides a prime example of how the mindset has shifted. Gone are the days when supporters might have bought a Charbray in the hope that it might be the 'right one', with today's buyers investing with confidence in a breed which follows a proven breeding plan delivering a consistent and versatile product, suitable to Australian conditions.

The big message stemming from recent sales is that quality is the key – in other words, the more sought-after genetics are driving premiums with the ever-increasing top price further feeding the breed's momentum. Indeed, the quality and quantity of genetics now available throughout the breed make it easy for seed stock producers and others to source a variety of genetics for their operation. This in turn provides greater value for sought-after genetics and greater incentive for members to strive harder to produce quality. It's a self-perpetuating philosophy and belief system that works.

On the back of its 2015 achievements, The Charbray Society is looking forward to an exciting schedule of events in 2016.

The Gympie Show Society, has invited the Charbray Society of Australia to be the feature breed at their annual show (May 12 and 13). This will be a major opportunity for Charbray enthusiasts to showcase their cattle, with a generous Charbray Society of Australia Life Member donating a significant amount of sponsorship towards this event. Later in the month (May 26), all roads lead to Monto Saleyards where Brad and Donna McInally of Monto Cattle and Country will host a Charbray infused store sale. Both these events reveal the demand for and confidence in Charbray genetics throughout a range of regions by buyers, sellers, agents and sponsors alike.

The National Bull and Female Sale will be prominent on the Charbray calendar in September, with 2016 marking its 39th year. We've come a long way and have much to be proud of.

Charbrays plus grass equals a winning formula says industry innovator: 2015

Charbrays plus grass equals a winning formula says industry innovator

Ian McCamley

The use of Charbray cattle whenever possible on methodically managed pastures provide solid foundations for Ian and Kate McCamley's successful Central Queensland grass-fed steer operation and their participation in the lucrative Pasturefed Cattle Accreditation System (PCAS).

The McCamleys' home base is Lowesby, north of Rolleston and forms part of their overall operation with takes in another family-owned property The Lake as well as two leased properties further north. Ian and Kate and their four school aged children Baxter, Cilla, Lawson and Hugo, are passionate about the rural industry as a lifestyle choice, but the bottom line for these innovative producers hinges on improved profitability. Ian, a former AgForce Cattle Board director and Cattle Council of Australia councillor was named 2013 Beef Producer of the Year for his role in establishing the Pasturefed Cattle Assurance System (PCAS), an assurance program that enables the beef industry to support pasturefed or grass fed production claims in return for strong premiums.

Ian says Charbrays are the perfect animal for use in the PCAS in that they provide an edge over many other breeds through their ready ability to perform well on grass. Naturally, Ian is keen to see more processors grade under the PCAS system so the Australian beef industry can extract more untapped value from this lucrative market

"The demand for beef underpinned by the PCAS is growing. It provides a sound opportunity for other producers and processors to get involved and capitalise with this unique product," Ian said.

"Australian producers have an edge as a grass finishing industry given our warm climate and abundance of quality grazing land. With Charbray cattle, we have even more of an edge given the breed's ability to meet market specifications so readily and naturally off grass."

Ian said the introduction of Meat Standards Australia (MSA) grading system into the major meat processing companies several years ago had been a major step in providing incentives for grass fed producers; the PCAS program however has taken the process a step further.

"Beef underpinned by the PCAS is providing real opportunity to turn off a unique product to meet the increasing demand from discerning consumers looking for healthy, natural, flavorsome beef."

Proof of the winning Charbray/PCAS combination can be found throughout the McCamley's operation. They buy weaner-age steers, mostly around 240kg -300kg from a range of selling centres including Emerald, Gracemere and Clermont. They also buy direct from other producers and online through Auctions Plus. Their steers are grown and finished on improved pastures across their properties to around 600kg live. Stock are predominantly PCAS accredited with about one third of their sale cattle going into the EU market. The cattle are finished and turned off anywhere from 24 to 36 months of age and sold mainly through Teys Australia's Biloela and Rockhampton processing plants and from time to time to other meatworks as well.

"If they take two years to finish – they need to bring a note," Ian jokes, inferring that these slower cattle are not tolerated as part of their program.

Regardless of which markets producers are targeting though, Ian's strongest advice is 'look after your grass!'

"Our number one focus is grass and keeping the whole plant healthy and productive. Paddocks that are starting to get short will be destocked and rested. Just as importantly paddocks that getting too long and rank will be stocked with a large number of mid -weight grower cattle to bring it back into line followed by some rest to regrow high quality pasture. We try to keep out stocking rates flexible according to pasture growth and seasons. We do get frosts in winter so we manage paddocks to ensure that our nearly finished cattle are on the best feed to capitalize on traditionally higher prices in the late winter period."

"We find that any animal with Charolais content is the ultimate animal to fatten without the use of HGPs. The Charolais genetics naturally enhance weight gain. And of course we always like to keep some Brahman content in our cattle for tick and heat tolerance. As long as Charbrays have softness, they will fatten. We have noticed that Charbrays regularly and consistently achieve the highest price of the day, regardless of how or where they are marketed."

An additional aid used by the McCamleys in securing premiums for their pasture-fed finishing program is the Ultra-Mac fat-depth scanner which measures, amongst other things, P8 (rump) fat specifications. The combined features of the scanner, a well-maintained supply of grass and participation in the PCAS, has seen the McCamleys secure premiums for their Charbray cattle in excess of $300 per carcass.

"By measuring the P8, we have been able to significantly improve market compliance. Cattle meeting the EU (European Union) market specification often command premiums of $150 - $250 per carcass. Additionally, there are significant premiums for PCAS cattle in Central Queensland which have been known to bring in excess of $300/carcass."

Ian said the scanner has really taken the guesswork out of measuring fat on their stock and added an extra dimension to their drafting methods and accuracies in the sale readiness process.

"Prior to using the scanner, we were pretty confident in identifying other specifications but fat was the one spec that was left to second guessing. The scanner has improved our compliance significantly and has become a central tool in our operation. While we have traditionally drafted cattle mainly on weight ranges and put them in finishing paddocks, we can now also draft on fat depth. This allows us to be a little less weight focused and select cattle that are close to meeting specifications, and allocate them to the most suitable paddock. Another feature of scanning is that it allows us to identify animals that have a tendency to fatten too early. These types of cattle are generally inefficient for our purposes and we would prefer to market them early and replace them with better quality."

Ian said that while Charbrays are ideal for the PCAS system he cautioned producers who have traditionally finished their cattle on a high energy grain diet grain to be mindful of whether their cattle are 'soft' enough to finish on grass.

"A softer beast with the ability to lay down enough fat at a moderate weight is ideal. Whilst some beef underpinned by PCAS goes into the lucrative US market, it is also under solid demand in our domestic market with 300 - 320kg dressed being the best carcass weight range to fit the PCAS grid and satisfy modern diners' steak size expectations. At any rate, the Charbray is a smart choice to fit the clean Australian beef image in that it has all of the right attributes to fit the grass fed pasture guidelines which in turn is the foundation of a green beef industry."

Ian said the strength of the PCAS program lay in its rigorous third party audit process.

"It is important to have your breed underpinned by a robust system. Consumers don't want to be diddled."

The requirements of the PCAS Standards mean that eligible cattle:

  • Have open access to graze pasture their entire life
  • Have not been confined for the purposes of intensive feeding for production
  • Are fully traceable for their entire life via NLIS;
  • Are guaranteed to eat well, based on MSA; and if required:
    • Optional - Are free from Hormone Growth Promotants (HGPs); and/or
    • Optional - Are free from antibiotics.
For more information about PCAS, producers are urged to go to the Cattle Council Web page.

Breed performance delivers Societies newest recruits - September 2015

Breed performance delivers Societies newest recruits

The decision to diversify into the Charbray breed was a natural progression for the Christensen family of Theodore.

Christensen family, Theodore.

With an established Charolais stud and cross breeding Charolais bulls over Brahman heifers in their commercial herd for the past thirteen years, Lindsay and Bron Christensen recognised the benefits of the initial cross and decided to investigate the potential of the Charbray breed further.

"When the time came to purchase replacement bulls, we had been researching the benefits of generational cross breeding and could see future potential in the market," Lindsay said.

"We were still considering continuing with our straight Charolais bull program when we visited Huntington at Taroom to view their sale bulls and were impressed with their Charbray offerings."

The identification of the right bull for the new venture was a family affair with the couple's three children accompanying them on the herd tour.

"Of course we had the usual selection of the 'cute' bulls, 'fluffy' bulls and even a few 'manly' bulls from our two daughters and one son but in the end all the family agreed with the pre-sale selection."

With Lindsay's commitments elsewhere on sale day, the onus was on Bron to ensure the purchase of the optimum bull for their needs.

"I love auctions!" Bron commented. "An antique chair here, a box of bits and bobs there is always good fun.

"However ensuring you make the right bid, for the right money, for the bull that will determine the direction of part of your herd for the foreseeable future was slightly stressful."

She persevered however and came away with the family's prime choice in Lot 2 – Huntington Hitch'Um, a red factor polled bull with exceptional EBVs.

The family have joined Hitch'Um to around forty of their stud Charolais heifers and are confident that his progeny will pay dividends in the long term.

"September this year will see his first offspring hit the ground and our plan is to mate those heifers at two years with Charbray again for our first full Charbray generational cross," Lindsay said.

Whilst the family will continue with their full Charolais line to meet existing commitments, they expect to expand the Charbray factor over the coming years, impressed with the characteristics of the breed.

"We will be introducing the Charbray/Charbray cross in our commercial herd as well. After all the entire purpose of stud animals is to improve your commercial herd and we are confident the characteristics of the Charbray line can improve our bottom line."

The Christensens run a commercial breeding program and raise the progeny through to sale for the EU market. Late last year with no rain on the horizon, they took the unprecedented step to sell a portion of their yearlings onto feedlots. The feedlot buyers first response was to commit to purchasing all of the Charbray animals with the remainder of the buy being made up of alternative breeds.

"When you receive that type of quality, front line feedback you really need to act on it.

"If Charbrays are the first choice for feedlot buyers then our move into the breed has to be the choice for us."

Parasite resistance and temperament was another factor in the move.

Theodore is located outside the tick line so ticks are an ongoing issue and the Christensens appreciate the increased parasite resistance that the cross will give to their herd.

"This resistance, the increased hardiness and the ability to rapidly improve condition immediately there is a seasonal upturn will give our softer, European herd the potential to expand our market into the drier and more unforgiving areas."

Temperament was also an important consideration for the family.

Christensen family, Theodore.

"We do the majority of our mustering on horseback with our children and they are usually in the yards with us helping out on the crush or during branding, so it is important that our cattle have good temperaments to assist with safety – nobody wants to be continually looking over their shoulder when in the yards with cattle."

As the Charbray Society's newest recruits, the Christensens are also enjoying the benefits which come from membership of a breed society.

"The assistance provided in setting up a new membership and in the initial registrations was very valuable. And to have somebody on the end of the phone that can answer questions immediately so you can get on with the business of running a property is also a great help."

No Turning Back for Breed Newcomer - September 2015

No Turning Back for Breed Newcomer

Calliope-based cattleman Viv Hunt has experimented with a number of popular breeds but his decision to incorporate Charbrays into his commercial cattle operation has proven rewarding beyond his expectations. A relative newcomer to the breed, Viv purchased three Charbray bulls from the Welsh family's Huntington Stud at Taroom in 2012 for use over his existing Grey Brahman and Droughtmaster cows. From therein, Viv's enthusiasm has grown alongside the success of his burgeoning breeding herd which he runs on his grazing block Dellyvon, between Dululu and Wowan.

Viv Hunt Charbrays

Viv's second lot of Huntington calves, are now on the ground, some out of his Grey Brahman and Droughtmaster cows and some out of his Charbray females, also bought in recent years. As with the first drop, the calves present as lighter birthweights than his previous crosses but outperform at weaning (eight to ten months old) with significantly higher weights.

"My Charbray and Charbray cross weaners have consistently weighed in at weaning well in excess of the previous breeds I have used. In fact some of them are 50-60 kg heavier which is just amazing. I have had a least one 10 month-old Charbray weaner steer weigh in at 370kg," Viv remarked.

"My purebred Charbrays are also outstanding performers. I have had calves as young as five months old top the scales at 257 kg."

At the peak of the market, Viv was scoring up to $600 per head for his weaners. When prices fell dramatically, he looked to other markets and he now mostly retains his stock and grows them out on improved pastures.

"Whenever I have the feed, I keep them. Their temperament is fantastic. You can walk through them in the yards without having to watch your back the whole time. Their calving rate is brilliant. Because the calves are only half the size of some of the other breeds, I have pretty much eliminated any calving difficulties."
So impressed is Viv by the performance of his Charbrays, he has made the decision to use Charbray bulls exclusively in his operation from now on.

"Progressively, as I cull I will eventually get rid of any other breeds I carry and replace them all with Charbrays," he said.

Viv attributes the sound quality of his property as another feature in his favour in producing good quality cattle. Having grown up at Chinchilla on the Western Darling Downs, he was more accustomed to farming and British breed cattle when he bought Dellyvon six years ago. He knew however he had secured himself a blue-ribbon deal.

"I had always been involved in the land, one way or another and I had worked as a jackaroo for a while but I had always had a passion for owning my own cattle property. This place was fully developed into improved pastures when I bought it and I was doubly blessed to buy it going into a good season."

Viv Hunt Charbrays

Having endured an extremely cold, dry winter in 2014, Viv has just emerged from a wet summer, receiving a welcome 240mm of rain (7 inches) on the fringe of Cyclone Marcia.

"I now have belly-high buffel grass but even during the extreme dry my Charbrays were holding condition ten times more than my Brahmans and barely a tick on them."

Viv's involvement with the Charbray Society was instigated by his friend and well-known Society member Kerod Lindley, whose generous nature is replicated in Viv. It is on Viv's Leichhardt Highway property that a large billboard promoting the Charbray Society stands, thanks to a conversation between the men several years ago.

"Kerod came to me and asked 'how much would you want to have a Charbray sign erected in your front paddock?'. I told him I wanted absolutely nothing so there stands the 6 metre x 3 metre sign with the words Go Charbray and the Society contact details highly visible to motorists on the highway. I supplied the tractor and Paul Connor and Les Marshall also came along to help dig the post holes and erect it."

Although Viv is not currently a member of the Charbray Society, he has nothing but praise for its members and coordinators.

"It's a good, friendly society. You can phone them anytime with any questions and nothing is too much trouble for them. It doesn't matter if you're a small operator of a large one, they value everyone equally."

Charbrays prove their worth: September, 2015

Charbrays prove their worth: September, 2015

Charbray producers have had much to celebrate recently with a string of outstanding results achieved at a number of prestigious sales and competitions across Queensland. These results boost confidence and reinforce the advantages gained from finely tuned breeding programmes which embrace Charbrays as a stand- alone breed.

Breed stalwarts Les and Anne Marshall are just some of the many producers who have recognized the benefits that stem from the ongoing use of Charbrays in their commercial cattle operation.

CCharbray Cattle

With genetic consistency and marketability being their main objective, the Marshalls are equally proud of the results their cattle are fetching at events such as the hotly contested annual Callide Dawson Beef Carcase Competition at Biloela in June, where they took home the Champion and Reserve Champion Grass Fed Steer Awards.

Aged between 18 and 20 months, the steers were weaned and grown out onto grass and leucaena on their Jambin district property Greenfield. The Marshall's Champion exhibit produced a hot score carcase weight of 398.4kg and measured 11mm of fat at the P8, 15mm at the rib, and a EMA of 105sq cm. The Reserve Champion also emerged from the same pen of three with a hot score carcase weight of 358.2kg,12mm of fat depth at the P8, and 15mm at the rib and an EMA of 97sq cm.

The Greenfield influence was also felt in July when a pen of grass fed steers, owned by T.H.F Agri Business and sired by a Greenfield bull, took out the Champion Pen Award at the Central Queensland Carcase Classic.

Les said the success enjoyed by Greenfield and fellow producers reflected the benefits gained not only from generational breeding at the stud level but from using Charbrays as a stand-alone breed at the commercial level.

"A number of commercial breeders have already extended their use of Charbrays beyond that of a rotational cross to perennial use," Les said.

"As a breed Society, this is certainly the objective we are aiming for and are keen to promote further. We are at a point now that we have great confidence that the Charbray breed can stand on its own two feet, while still maintaining the inherent characteristics of its parent breeds."

Charbrays have also been star performers for the Nobb's family this year. At Beef Australia, a pen of 10 heifers belonging to Chas and Judy Nobbs, Cordelia, Moura, was sashed Grand Champion in the Pasture-Fed Class, while a second pen of the same class, also owned by Chas and Judy, took out Reserve Champion. Both pens were weaned and finished on leucaena and buffel on their Moura property. Chas and his two brothers Stewart and Roger Nobbs also took out Grand Champion for a pen of 10 Pasture Fed steers, finished on buffel at Springsure. Overall, the Nobbs were competing against 1200, mixed breed exhibits.

Success followed to the Biloela Show in May, where Chas's son and daughter-in-law, Phillip and Stephanie Nobbs, Delargum, Moura, took out the Champion Bullock Award, while Chas's achievement in winning Champion Heifer, Reserve Champion Heifer as well as Champion Pen of Steers and Heifers – all being Charbray entries. – was rewarded with him receiving the Champion Exhibit Award of the Show. To top off his winning streak, Chas also snagged the Champion Heifer Award at the Callide Valley Carcase competition with his Charbray entry.

One of the breed's most recent achievements was a Charbray No 4 milk tooth steer belonging to GL Campbell Family Partnership of Jambin which took out the honours for the highest individual weight gain in the 70-day grain fed trial section of this year's RNA Paddock to Palate Competition. The steer recorded an average daily weight gain of 3.8 kg, ahead of its nearest rival who recorded a 3.44 kg per day gain. Known as the richest single prime beef competition in Australia, the Paddock to Palate competition is co-ordinated by the RNA with major sponsors Mort & Co, feeding the cattle at their Grassdale feedlot at Dalby. Mort & Co's Private Client Manager Berry Reynolds said the Campbell family's success was a notable feat given the standard of competition and a clear reflection that the Charbray breed has the capacity to meet a range of markets, such as the 100 day Export and 70 day domestic markets.

Results such as these will no doubt help generate continued demand for Charbray cattle. All vendors at this year's sale are Certified Charbray breeders carrying the Charbray Trademark. These dedicated Charbray seed stock producers are using carefully planned breeding programmes to produce bulls that are meeting market demands with more reliability, therefore producing quality lines of cattle.

Charbrays fit the bill in maximizing productivity: September, 2015

Charbrays fit the bill in maximizing productivity: September, 2015

Bush Agribusiness consultant Ian McLean offers some wise words for beef producers
Bush Agribusiness consultant Ian McLean offers some wise words for beef producers

The Charbray Society of Australia has endorsed the MLA's Northern Beef Report which urges cattlemen to maximize productivity in their herds as a means of boosting profitability and addressing declining terms of trade in the beef industry.

And Charbrays are perfectly packaged to achieve this objective, according to former Society president Matthew Welsh who says the breed has been hugely successful in harnessing the traits of fertility, adaptability and performance – features which are essential in maximizing productivity.

"We must remember, that while we cannot change the environment in which our businesses operate, we can control the way the business is operated and one of the biggest influences is the type of cattle – the right genetics for that environment," Mr Welsh said.

"As a breed, Charbrays have developed a consistency of type that fits a range of markets, allowing producers not only to maximize production but to be shielded from market fluctuations as well."

Mr Welsh also agrees with the Report's lead author and Bush Agribusiness consultant Ian McLean who cautions producers to be wary of media reports exposing 'record high' cattle prices which fail to take into account factors such as inflation and the cost of production.

"While the last thing anyone wants to do is to dampen enthusiasm in the beef industry, I agree with Ian that, although cattle prices may be at record highs in nominal terms, producers need to look at long-term prices in real terms to get a clear picture. This means factoring inflation and comparing changes in purchasing power over time," Mr Welsh said.

Instead of concentrating on prices alone, Mr McLean recommends the focus should be on productivity – or in other words maximizing the kilograms of beef produced in the long term.

"The focus should be on what can be done within the boundary fence, over the long term, through all seasonal and market conditions, to produce the most beef at the lowest cost. And cutting expenses alone is not the answer – it's more about scrutinizing and targeting expenditure so that every dollar spent returns the maximum amount. "

This approach is further promoted in the CashCow project which highlights the importance of breeder management, particularly the timing of calving and selection of fertile females into the breeding herd.
"Improvements in these areas can be leveraged by genetic gain, boosting productivity and return," Mr McLean said.

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