Charbray Association Australia


Sullivan Livestock Testimonial - 20 December 2009

Charbrays excel at Saleyards

GYMPIE livestock agent Dan Sullivan, Sullivan Livestock, has nothing but respect for the attributes of the Charbray cattle consigned to him to sell.

Dan operates a fortnightly store and prime sale, weekly calf sale, and an annual weaner sale, at the Gympie Saleyards.

On a personal level, Mr Sullivan has for the last 15 years been crossing his Brahman cows with Charolais bulls selling the progeny through the saleyards. Cattle are consigned from as far north as Monto, west to Mundubbera, and east to Gin Gin, as well as the local coastal Mary Valley. The sales are supported by a buying panel representing restockers, feedlot operators, local butchers and processors.

“At our regular fortnightly sale the yarding would comprise of about 30 percent Charbray infused cattle,” Mr Sullivan said.

“However at the annual weaner sale the Charbray portion is more like half the draft.”

About 1000 head of cattle are yarded at the fortnightly sale, while the annual weaner sale attracts between 1500 and 2000 head.

“The one thing you know when you put up a pen of Charbray cattle is that they will attract strong competition and sell well."

“They are proven performers and have great weight for age and doing ability."

"Another attribute is temperament. The boys working in the yards here have no trouble at all penning and yarding the Charbrays.”

“There is no doubt they have also been good to me too.”


Alistair McClymont Testimonial - 20 September 2009

Charbrays introduce a bright future at “Saxby Downs”

By Queensland Country Life

Charbray bulls were introduced to the “Saxby Downs” composite stud program about ten years ago. The bulls were initially bought to put over composite Brahman x Angus X Belmont cows and now part Senepol is used, giving Saxby Downs a significant line of breeders. Charbrays have become a vital part of the Saxby Downs cattle plan.

“ We wanted to put a bit of frame into the composite bullocks and reduce the fat a bit. It wasn’t long after the introduction of Charbray bulls that we started to see increased progeny. At this stage kills indicate this has worked, with excellent results and has been very successful” Mr McClymont said. Most Charbray breeders are taking positive steps in producing consistent lines of Charbray cattle and many believe they have a solid future in Australia’s beef industry.

As the demand for Charbray cattle in live export continue to remain strong, “Saxby Downs” also wanted to be able to sell steers on the boats or to fatteners down south. Currently the Live Export trade is estimated to have a value of $730 million. The Charbray sells well in both these markets. “We inherited a large Charbray herd on “Saxby Downs” in 2008 and intend to maintain the breed as the heifers are also very marketable anywhere” Mr McClymont said. Mr McClymont is a repeat National Sale buyer.


Kidman Co. in the Northern Territiory Testimonial - 2 July 2009

Kidman embraces Charbray genetics

By Martin Bunyard

Charbrays have become a vital part of cattle company S. Kidman & Co’s north Australian operations.

Charbrays were introduced to the company’s Brahman herds at their properties Helen Springs in the Barkly Tablelands, Northern Territory, and Ruby Plains and Sturt Creek in the East Kimberly region of Western Australia about 10 years ago.

Charbray Cows - Kidman & Co, Northern Territory.

Since their introduction, the breed has increased the company’s live export steer weights at turnoff by 20 kilograms on average and achieved up to 93 percent reconception rates in their breeding herds.

S. Kidman & Co, managing director Greg Campbell, said Charbray bulls used by the company have been sourced from a range of Queensland and Northern Territory studs and the Charolais content has varied from 50 to 25pc.

“The Charbray bulls have been mated to lines of Brahman cows over the last 10 years and we’ve now got significant lines of breeders that are considered Charbray,” he said.

“The Charolais content varies from 50 percent downwards, depending on how long the Charbray bulls have been active in those herds.”

Given that S. Kidman & Co’s northern properties aren’t in areas with high tick or high buffalo fly loads, the use of tropically adapted cattle that still contain many Bos Taurus traits has been very successful.

Charbray Cows - Kidman & Co, Northern Territory.

“It wasn’t long after the introduction of Charbray bulls that we started to see increased weight gains in the progeny we were turning off into the live export market,” Mr Campbell said.

“We’ve also recorded greater dressed weights of around 30 kg over the same aged straight Brahmans on finished bullocks in the Channel Country, which is our main form of cattle finishing.”

Another benefit from the introduction of Charbray genetics into their herds has been the retention of cattle with a lighter coloured coat.

“The industry has generally faced the preference from Asian live export buyers wanting grey or light colour coated animals, plus a lighter coat helps the animal’s heat tolerance in the treeless grasslands,” Mr Campbell said.

Currently, S.Kidman & Co are sourcing Charbray semen for an artificial insemination program they plan to conduct in the near future.

Charbray genetics are being used in a Kidman composite breeding trial. Mr Campbell said the company was crossing Tuli and Murray Grey cattle, with the heifer progeny being mated to Charbray bulls and the selected male progeny being mated to Charbray cows.

“We are looking to the next generation of performance improvements and looking at how that may be achieved with different cattle genetics,” he said.

“Following the examples set by other composite breeders, we are also looking at creating a composite breed that is suited to the properties S. Kidman & Co owns across northern Australia.

“We’re trying to develop an animal that is adapted enough for the climate on our north Australian properties, but also achieves improved fertility and growth, improved feedlot performance, improved eating quality, and is polled.

One concern raised by Mr Campbell was a need for the Charbray seedstock breeders to move towards more recording under the Breedplan genetic evaluation system.

“While Breedplan might not be a perfect system, it can be a great shopping centre for people looking for certain attributes within bulls and performance for their particular circumstances.”

Despite Mr Campbell’s concerns about statistical recording within the breed, overall, he believes Charbrays will remain strong in S. Kidman & Co’s northern breeding programs. “Whether we stay as a Brahman and Charbray herd in the northern areas or move to a composite breed, the Charbray cattle are going to be very important to the future of our cattle operations.”


George HoareTestimonial - 18 June 2009

“The Ever Increasing roll, Charbray Genetics are playing in the Rockview Beef Herd.”

By Queensland Country Life

The move to turn off weaners straight from the paddock rather than the saleyards complex has seen George and Cathy Hoare, Rockview Cattle Co., Bluff achieve ever increasing results with their self replacing breeding herd of approximately 800 Charbray females.

On 7000ha of Brigalow and forest country mix, the Hoare’s turn off the weaners from the paddock keeping on average 30% of the heifers. A move that has seen both himself and loyal buyers benefit due to the decreased costs associated with freight and yarding and buyers receiving a product that is less stressed or bruised.

The use of Charbray genetics has also seen George build this loyal clientele base and generate a higher margin on top of what he previously sold straight Brahman weaners for.

“The Charbray weaners weigh in around 20kg extra and return 10 to 15 cents per kg more than I received for other lines of weaners”, George said.

“The use of quality Charbray genetics has seen us be able to produce a more consistent line of cattle here and a line that buyers keep coming back for’, he adds.

With temperament and fertility two of the main traits the Hoare family focus on, they now have developed a stud of their own.

“Its always good to breed a few stud cattle as a gauge to how well your breeding herd is doing for your operation, and I guess its another challenge”. Mr Hoare said.


Fahey Family Testimonial - 4 June 2009

Big advantages to “Diversifying into Charbrays”

By Shan Edwards

DIVERSIFYING into Charbray has provided long-time NSW stud and commercial beef producers, the Fahey family of Copmanhurst, the opportunity to supply additional emerging markets in a way that fully utilises the decades of breeding behind their well-known Brahman herd.

Michael and Elizabeth Fahey and the four children Margaretta, Burnett, Innes and Alice, run “Nettle Creek”, west of Grafton, which today is the home to the Bizzy Brahman, Nettle Creek Brangus and Nettle Creek Charbray studs.

For 25 years, the family have collected broad ribbons from prestigious events around the country for their Brahman bulls and females and have sold stud animals throughout the east coast and even internationally.

They also produce around 300 Brahman-cross vealers per annum.

Four years ago, recognising a new and fast-growing distinct market on the coast among smaller area producers with river flat country abundant in feed, who were looking for well-bred young cattle that would provide the weight gains they wanted to turn cattle around quickly, the Faheys decided to move into Charbrays.

They SELECTED CHAROLAIS BULLS FOR THEIR CHARBRAY ENTERPRISE THAT DISPLAYED AMPLE constitution, plenty of length and softness. “The softness has been critical to allowing us to produce feminine females,” Mr Fahey said.

The bulls have been put over pink-nosed registered Brahmans in order to obtain a desired creamy colour and the Faheys are planning to sell around 100 of the Charbray heifers each year, plus around 25 bulls.

Their first offering of the CHARBRAY heifers went under the hammer at an invitational sale at Grafton saleyards this year, topping the sale at $1240 a head for pregnancy-tested-in-calf heifers. Nettle Creek in total sold 70 Charbray heifers to an average $750, which Mr Fahey described as a very pleasing result.

“CHARBRAY offers more weight while retaining the Brahman benefits necessary for our tough coastal country with its native pastures, such as good foraging ability and good mothering.

“Our intentions for some time have been to use the pure-bred Brahman stock that has taken us years to breed up with other breeds in order to open new markets and CHARBRAY has done that perfectly.”

Continual diversification and the versatility it brings is one of the keys to building a large-scale coastal cattle enterprise, Mr Fahey said.

"CHARBRAY HAVE PROVIDED the ability to switch focus depending on which markets are going stronger", he said.


Graham Himstedt Testimonial - 23 April 2009

Showing success proves a valuable tool

By Katie Lloyd

After taking home seven awards from 11 entries at the 3rd Annual Silverdale Show and Sale, Graham Himstedt is confident his breeding programme is headed in the right direction. An ardent Charbray breeder, Graham together with his family, operate Glen Hills Pastoral based at Moore.

“I am generally passionate about cattle and I believe every breed has their top cattle with individual qualities. For me personally Charbrays are where I want to focus my attention; they have so many qualities suited to our operation,” he said. Glen Hills Pastoral is run over properties based in the Moore and Nanango districts and Graham says Charbrays have proved they can survive and thrive on the country, regardless of the season.

Graham’s introduction to Charbrays commenced back in the 1970s, purchasing his first bull from Jim Connolly and Bill Bishop. Today his herd comprises around 350 commercial Charbray and Charbray/Charolais cross breeders with the objective of selling finished cattle directly to market. “For the past 10 years we have been weaning our steers directly into a feedlot and growing them out for the domestic market, mainly being Coles and AMH,” Graham said. “However, this year because of the market, we opted against the feedlot and have been selling steers straight off their mothers as weaners. We plan to offload them through the saleyards over the next month or so.”

Showing has always been a good benchmarking tool for the Himstedts who have supported a number of regional shows over the years. The Silverdale Show and Sale, held back in early March, was a tremendous success not only for the family, but also for the Charbray breed. “It was a very good exhibit featuring almost 600 head of cattle from a range of breeds. In total there were 24 classes and 10 of these were won by Charbray and Charbray cross cattle. Of these winners, four took out nine of the championship awards, and one also took out the Grand Champion animal of the show. When you factor in that there were only six classes with no Charbrays, the breed had a very good day,” Graham said.

Glen Hills Pastoral took out the single prime cow class (grass or supplementary fed) with their 710kg Charbray female who went on to sell for $1.55 returning $1100.50. In the single prime steer category, with no feed restrictions, Graham entered two steers which went on to be awarded first and second place. The winner of this class went on to win the Senior Champion of the class. “I wasn’t too sure how the steer would go standing up in the championship line up because there were some big bullocks up against him. But the judge, Trevor Francis selected him because he didn’t believe he had the wastage the others had, and as he said, there is no payment for wastage,” Graham stated.

Another successful showing for the family was at the Moreton Prime Show and Sale held last October. With his two entries, a steer and a heifer, Graham took home three awards; two firsts and the Champion Female. “The heifer, prepared on grass, was up against supplementary fed females in a class which boasted 60 head, so that was a top effort. The steer won his class but unfortunately didn’t succeed beyond that,” Graham added.

All cattle selected for special shows and sales are selected directly out of the paddock. “Our cattle are prepared in the paddock with the cattle that don’t make it; they aren’t given any preferential treatment, Graham said. “We will supplementary feed if required but otherwise the cattle are just grown out on grass.”

Graham puts a lot of time into sire selection declaring it to be a pivotal part of the operation. “Over the years we have bought in many sires; Charbrays from Kandanga Valley, Huntington, Gobongo, Granville and Diamond L, and Charolais bulls from Fernvale and Gunnadoo. However, we breed a lot of our own bulls, many of which are retained for use in house.”

“It is hard to find the perfect bull and I am very fussy. Figures are very important to me personally; I work on big EMAs, strong milk scores and I prefer a fat cover of 8+; but on saying that the bull must have a good shape and tail setting,” Graham stated.

The breeding of bulls for his own operation inevitably led to a demand from others and in recent years Graham has been selling bulls privately in the paddock. In 2006 he decided to put a few through the ring at the Coolabunia Charolais and Charbray Sale and it was a move that proved a success. “In that first sale back in 2006 we offered 18 bulls and had the highest average and a top of $6250. In 2007 we offered 11 bulls which returned the highest average and also the top priced bull of the sale at $7000,” he said.

Charbrays have proven to be a valuable asset to the Himstedt family and Graham credits the breed for their excellent qualities. “In terms of doing ability, weight for age, growth rates and carcass traits, you just can’t knock them,” Graham said. “I am very proud of what I breed and what I do and am confident Charbrays will continue to deliver the excellent results we’ve seen over the years.”


Graham Himstedt Testimonial - 9 April 2009

Leading the Way

By Queensland Country Life

A move to breed cattle with high scanning ability and EMA scores has seen Graham Himstedt achieve considerable success at various store shows and sales, carcase competitions and bull sales where he believes the Charbray breed comes into their own.

The saleyards record holder, set in 2001 when Mr Himstedt sold a pen of 2 Charbray steers for 279c/kg to return $1959.60 per head says I have bred cattle for a number of shows including Beaudesert, Silverdale, Morton and local shows and come home with champion ribbons for both steers and heifers and believe the saleyards is where the proof of the Charbray cattle can really be seen.

“When you see a good line of Charbray weaners in the saleyards often you will find they achieve the best results especially in this country”.

However we have always still taken great consideration into how well our cattle score in the works and believe this must be at the fore front when breeding the right animal. At the Esk carcass competition in 2006 we scored 95 points out of 100 with a Charbray steer and henceforth our steer won the carcass competition”.

The same must be said about the great thought Mr Himstedt puts into selecting bulls.

With the main focus on the bulls scanning scores in fat, rump and rib, Milk EBV and their Eye Muscle Area, Mr Himstedt believes this is what reflects in the consistency in his herd and ability to return the dividends at the end of the day.

Mr Himstedt runs a conglomerate of country around the Moore and Nanango districts amounting to approximately 2600acres where he believes utilisation is achieved successfully due to the ability of the Charbray cows being able to raise a good weaner in any type of season.

“Glen Hills has been in our family for over 100 years and it is attributed to the fact that our Charbray cows can raise a good weaner time after time in any season and not loose condition themselves”.

“Our cull cows at 9 and 10-year-old average $1100 sold on farm, unregistered and up to $1400.

We have been breeding Charbrays since the early 70’s and their attributes such as quietness, bone and length will see us continue to upgrade and build on our herd”. He said.


Gary Johncock Testimonial - 5 March 2009

Performance gives Charbray the edge

By Katie Lloyd

When Gary Johncock states that he hasn’t found any other breed that performs better, it’s a statement that makes you sit up and take note. As General Manager of Colinta Holdings, one of Australia’s larger beef producers running around 50,000 commercial cattle, it’s certainly pays tribute to the breed in question. “This statement is not a fabrication, it’s the truth. If there was an alternative that could deliver a better result we’d be doing it; we couldn’t afford not to,” he said.

Charbray cattle make up a big component of the Colinta Holdings operation and they are a breed that delivers excellent results for the company. Having worked for the company for almost 20 years, Gary said the Colinta Charbray program commenced back in 1990 with the acquisition of registered females from the Creighton Park herd. A number of Charolais bulls were purchased, including Mandalong Holiday, which were used over Colinta registered Brahman cows to provide the first F1s.

The breeding programme received a boost with the importation of pure French genetics from New Caledonia, a groundbreaking move of the day, with the old sire TROUBADOUR being the only French Charolais bull in the world eligible for importation into Australia at the time. This importation produced PIERRE, the long time, and current easy calving winner for Colinta.

Colinta was quick to take advantage of importation when restrictions were eased, bringing in a number of French and American Charolais sires including GICOMTE, a bull described by Gary as the dominant influence within the Colinta herd.

Two separate registered Brahman and Charolais herds set the foundation for the company’s Charbray breeding programme which in recent years has seen the company turn off around 300 to 400 Charbray bulls annually. “The dry seasonal conditions over the past few years have inevitably forced these numbers down however we are still breeding and selling many bulls into the north and retain 100 or so for use within our commercial operation.”

Charbray bulls are bred at Havilah Station near Collinsville and those retained are relocated for use on all the company’s breeding properties. “In total the company has 13 properties which spread from McArthur River in the Northern Territory through to another located as far south as Mudgee in New South Wales,” Gary said. “The Charbray cattle are able to handle all the environmental conditions which make them very suited to our operation.”

The Colinta breeding programme is continually being refined with a special unit at their Bowen based property, Mt Luce currently underway. The program is focused on a purebred exercise and is now into its 4th generation. “We started the program by joining registered Brahman cows to registered Charolais bulls. The C1 cross was then joined with a registered Brahman, while the C2 was joined back to a registered Charolais. This registered C3 was then crossed with another registered C3 resulting in C4 calves that are 5/8 Charolais and 3/8 Brahman; a ratio which sits well with the majority of our bull buying clients,” Gary said. “The main thing is we are achieving uniformity which can be hard to attain when you are doing random crossing.”

The company’s commercial operation produces cattle for a range of markets. “It is all driven by seasonal conditions and demand,” Gary said. “If we can carry cattle through to slaughter we will, otherwise we will turn them off as feeders. Some of our cattle in the north go on the live export market but at the end of the day we keep our options open to ensure we can get the best result at the time.”

Gary’s faith in Charbray cattle leads him to believe they have a solid future in Australia’s beef industry. “I don’t believe there are any issues for Charbrays in the future, providing market expectations are being met at the time. In our operation they have proved to be a breed that can survive and prosper in both the northern arid and tropical environments, as well as being adapted to suit the southern markets where they prefer softer cattle that don’t have humps. They are extremely user friendly and this versatility gives them a market advantage,” Gary said. “I’m more than happy with the results we are seeing.”


Greg Hayes Testimonial - 2 February 2009

Charbray’s Produce Profitable Path

By Shan Edwards

SIGNIFICANT weight advantages obtained with no losses to disease-resistance and the ability to work tougher coastal country has cemented long-time weaner specialist Greg Hayes’ faith in Charbrays.

Mr Hayes and wife Margaret run 220 Brahman breeders on 404ha at Collins Creek, near Kyogle in north eastern NSW, producing weaner steers at 8-10 months, weighing 420kg.

A second generation beef producer, Mr Hayes introduced Charolais bulls ten years ago chasing thickness in his calves and the first Charbray drop resulted in an additional 80kg at the same age with no significant seasonal or feeding changes.

That was enough to set him on a permanent path of producing the genuine article, with the optimum hybrid vigour sought after by the northern NSW and south-eastern Queensland feedlotters and backgrounders, who snap up the majority of his steers.

That hybrid vigour has afforded the Hayes premiums over the past decade while the hardiness and doing ability of the cross has allowed the Charbray cattle to continually meet targets despite drought and poorer seasons.

The Hayes run a pasture-based operation and have 50 per cent of the property improved with Ryegrass, Rhodes and Seteria plantings. A small percentage of steers are creep fed, depending on the season.

The property originally housed a Hereford operation but Brahmans were bought in 20 years ago, largely for tick resistance.

“We had big expenses in that department. We went from dipping every 21 days to never treating the Brahman herd,” Mr Hayes said.

The Hayes breed all their females and sell around eight stud bulls a year under the “Figland” stud.

“When we decided to produce steers, we needed a breed that would not only give us the extra weight but would not draw anything from the disease resistance or the ability to forage our type of country that the Brahman provided,” Mr Hayes said.

Charbrays fit the bill.

Four original bulls were sourced from Andrew and Norah Cass’ “Glen Laurel” Charolais stud at Guluguba in Queensland and the results hit the target perfect.

Over the years, the Hayes went on to source bulls from other areas of Queensland and from Moree in Northern NSW.

Steer sales for the past 12 months have topped at $848 direct to a Northern Rivers butcher while last autumn’s weaner sales, where the majority are sold, brought the couple a top of $2.08c/kg.

Charbray heifer calves are sold into Northern Rivers breeding herds, with heifer pens making $750 at this year’s annual Casino Charbray Sale.


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