Charbray Association Australia


Charbrays deliver dividends in the marketplace
- October 2014

Charbrays deliver dividends in the marketplace

by Louise Golden

North Burnett graziers Terry and Lorraine Haupt are passionate Charbray advocates whose long-term approach to breed selection and management returns them well-earned dividends in the marketplace as well as great personal satisfaction.

Terry Haupt, 'Debingal' Eidsvold

Terry and Lorraine introduced Charbrays to their 8,500 acre Eidsvold district breeding property Debingal about 10 years ago, crossing Charbray bulls over a proportion of their Red Brahman females in lieu of Brahman bulls. This break from tradition was prompted by a desire to breed an item which could survive on the property's granite country which had not then been fully improved. With ongoing development, this transition proved successful and within several years Charbray bulls were used over the entire herd. This pattern has further evolved to include crossing Charbray bulls over second generation females, again with pleasing results.

Weaners from the Haupts' EU Accredited operation are turned off at 8-12 months old, mostly through the Eidsvold Saleyards where they are strongly contested by repeat buyers, re-stockers and lot-feeders alike. Prevailing dry conditions on Debingal has seen breeder number reduced by 75%. Downsizing, however, was geared more towards long-term land preservation than the demands of ailing stock.

"Ironically, although things got dry and we cut our numbers right back, the stock were actually still doing well, all things considering. They were definitely not going backwards and in fact some were still thriving. This is no doubt a reflection of this particular cross's ability to hold on despite the tough going," Terry said.

"We don't buy supplements or molasses but when possible, we give the breeders a barley sprout supplement which we grow on-property. This is really not for fattening but to stop them from losing ground. It also helps generate the milk supply in the mothers and the calves really benefit as a result."

Terry believes that the secret to successful generational breeding lies in investing in bulls from a wide genetic pool and replacing bulls on a regular basis to eliminate in-line breeding. Additionally, the Haupts maintain a close watch on culling with temperament, bone structure and honeycomb colour to maintain an even line forming the basis of their heifer replacement process.

"You can convince yourself as much as you like that you have made the right decisions with your breeding and selection process but the proof of the pudding is in the sale results," Terry said.

"We also get a lot of good comments from other cattlemen at the saleyards and strong, positive feedback from buyers, many of whom are repeat buyers. I had a bloke say to me once that if you breed Charbrays you will wear diamonds. Well, I don't know if I'd go that far but the combination of switching to Charbrays and becoming EU accredited has certainly given our operation an edge that we would not have had otherwise."

Terry and Lorraine, both life-long North Burnett residents, agree that the introduction of Charbrays on Debingal has also been a wise choice from a management perspective.

"The even temperament of the breed makes them a pleasure to work with and so easy to handle. Lorraine and I are usually capable of running the property ourselves, although our two sons Tony and Steven, both who have other careers, have been particularly helpful since I had a bad shoulder injury several months ago.''

Consistency equates to returns for Davidson family - May 2014

Consistency equates to returns for Davidson family

by Louise Golden

A firm commitment to generational breeding is central to the Davidson family's Charbray breeder operation and a driving force behind their viability as commercial cattle producers. In bypassing a fattening option on their Northern Central Highlands grazing property Roper Downs, near Middlemount, the Davidsons instead, turn off via paddock sales, up to 700 mix-sexed weaners annually, supplying to some of the region's larger-scale commercial cattlemen.

George & Cathy Hoare of Braylyn Charbrays with Braylyn Hoodlum
Roper Down's Weaners are in hot demand

The Davidsons, comprising octogenarian Neville Davidson, his daughter-in-law Toni and her three children Will, Tammy and Jessica, are relative newcomers to the Central Highlands, having moved to the region about eight years ago from Beaudesert. Sadly, Toni's late husband Graham Davidson died shortly after the move to Roper Downs; Graham's devotion to the cattle industry however is perpetuated by his family whose connection with the Charbray breed goes back to their time at Beaudesert. From here, they took a number of Charolais and cross-bred cows which they incorporated with some big purebred Brahman cows which were included in the Roper Downs purchase.

Central to their philosophy is the selection of high-grade sires and retention of only the highest quality females. Early in their Charbray program, however, the Davidsons concede they took a fairly simplistic, first-cross approach to breeding, putting Charolais bulls over Brahman cows.

"But once we realized the benefits of generational breeding and upholding the Charbray as a breed unto itself, we started paying a lot more attention to detail, particularly in our sire selection," Will said.

"And by that I don't mean we have had to outlay an exorbitant amount of money for bulls, but we have certainly become more discerning in our selection criteria. It goes beyond just buying from a certain stud or a certain stud sale; it's more about looking for the right bull that will be honorable to the breed and to our needs. When I try to emphasize this to others I often use the scenario of a Santa breeder, for instance, buying a Shorthorn bull to put over his Brahman cows. So why would a Charbray advocate rely on breeding just from Charolais or Brahman stock? That scenario wouldn't play out in other pure breeds so why should we compromise in the Charbray breed?"

Features such as conformation, bone structure, good meat and fat coverage, pizzle correctness and good doing-ability are what attract the Davidsons to the Charbray breed.

"Temperament of course is also a key feature in all our cattle; if they are the slightest bit touchy they go. Also, you don't want them to be too tight-skinned."

Roper Downs has been spared the burden of extreme drought conditions compared to other Queensland areas in recent seasons, with relatively good supplies of water and feed on hand on the 14,000 acre predominately Brigalow/Buffel property. Should the drought intensify, the Davidsons are confident their decision of run Charbray stock will stand them in good stead.

"We find our Charbray breeders to be good milkers who have the capacity to milk during tough times, as well as being very fertile. In our business, turning off good weaners is our priority and having Charbrays with great weight- for- age gives us confidence, even if we were forced to turn them off younger to look after our breeders. Most years our steers average 260-280kgs and as our better heifers are kept as replacements the heifers average 230 -250kg.

"We believe Charbrays are one of the most marketable breeds around as most producers have come to recognize their weight- for- age traits and doing ability. Charbrays are certainly one of, if not the most desirable breeds within our region, although I believe breeding stock need to be watched as fat cover can be an issue in the breed."

With three generations of cattlemen guiding the Roper Downs operation, youth and experience combine to ensure the very best of the Charbray breed is incorporated into their breeding program.

"There is equal input from all of us – from purchasing bulls or keeping replacements we all take part and have a keen eye for quality. It's good to be able to stand back and see the rewards ; you might have to put in that little bit of extra effort and pay a bit more for your bulls but it's worth it," Will said.

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