Rob Brown, Dalmally, Roma, with his EU accredited steers.

Roma man’s perfect formula for EU market

Find out what breeds Rob Brown is cross breeding on his Roma property.

A TRIPLE treat of genetics and a rotational grazing program on oats and summer grasses is producing the perfect product for Roma producer Rob Brown as he targets the EU market.

Mr Brown moved from the Wide Bay Burnett region to the Maranoa district 20 years ago and operates the 5300 hectare property, Dalmally, south of Roma. 

After establishing a Droughtmaster stud, naturally his commercial herd took on the same genetics.

But he later integrated Brahmans and since moving to the tick free Roma country has been able to establish a “three way cross” breeder herd now consisting of 500 cows joined in December. 

“I’ve got commercial Droughtmaster, then I’ve got Brahman cross cows which I put Charolais over so I’ve got a couple of mobs of Charbray cows,” he said.

Some of the steers Mr Brown retained to sell as two-year-old EU steers.

“We had the (Droughtmaster) stud for quite a while but I always like a bit of content in the cattle so a bit of Brahman was introduced and then since we moved out here you can introduce the Charolais which is beef and their weight for age.

“I have tried a couple of different bulls but haven’t been really impressed with the cross so we’ll just stick to that. The Charolais Brahman cross is a particularly good cross, that weight for age.”

Dalmally was previously cropping based but Mr Brown used the existing cultivation to instead plant about 400 hectares of bambatsi and buffel grass. It recently also stopped operating as share farming allowing Mr Brown to extend his oats crop to now reach 240 hectares.

The bambatsi and buffel grass is divided into smaller paddocks of 40 hectares using a single electric wire fence and cattle are rotated between them.

Mr Brown said the EU market had proved beneficial. It means he isn't able to buy in cattle including cows with calves at foot.

The paddocks can be rested for anywhere up to 60 days but after receiving 135mm of rain in the spring break, Mr Brown intends to rest paddocks for 30 days and have cattle feeding on them for five days.

“It’s a good way to manage the cattle moving around because if it’s summer (the bambatsi) can grow pretty fast,” he said.

“It is better if you can keep it at a manageable level otherwise it gets too rank.” 

His EU accredited steers are fattened on the oats paddocks with about 200 turned off annually at two years old to Australia Meat Holdings at Dinmore.

Cull heifers are also aimed at the EU market and are killed about two and a half years of age.

It’s a strategy that is working well for Mr Brown who usually receives premium prices and two years ago received about $6.10/kg for his steers which returned about $2000/hd.

But this year, due to dry conditions, he was forced to sell off weaner and unfinished steers to the Roma saleyards.

There is plenty of green grass for the cattle on Dalmally now after recent October rainfall.

“We didn’t have enough feed to hand on to them to put them on the oats,” he said.

“We had a pretty ordinary summer last year which just got us through and we had a bit of rain when the cyclone came through and that sort of saved us a bit but nothing to grow much grass.”

About 186 of the heavier steers who couldn’t be finished on the oats were sold in March weighed made 322c/kg at 403/kg to return $1301/hd.

At the end of August, another 85 steers were sold weighing 326kg at 330c/kg to return $1076/hd. 

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