The Shorthorn breed attracted us for a number of reasons. They are not known as the breed that built Australia for nothing. The cattle are kind tempered and easy to handle. They are suited to a variety of markets depending on the season. If seasons are kind, they can be sold as vealers (280-350kgs) or at 380-500kgs to the feedlot (0–2 teeth) or they can be kept even longer. They are fertile, easy doing cattle which can handle our harsh Riverina conditions. We often have winter nights below zero and many summer days above 40C so we need an adaptable beast.
The Shorthorns also have appeal as a long standing British breed. They have helped in the formation of many other breeds such as Santa Gertrudis, Speckle Park and Murray Grey. As a proven quality product, they have contributed significantly to the development of the Australian beef herd. Shorthorns are also very valuable in a cross breeding programme and their crosses with other breeds bring increased hybrid vigour expressed in greater weight and fertility. Their excellent feet and leg structure enables them to walk long distances to chase food and water. With their great longevity, it is not unusual to see Shorthorn cows still productive well into their teens.
Shorthorns also have great mothering ability and are excellent milkers. Often the burden of twin calves will be shared by other cows within the herd. Shorthorns are also very fertile and usually join quickly making it easier to achieve a tight calving. In recent years, there has been a move away from the big lean late maturing shorthorns to a more highly muscled animal. Our own shorthorns have reflected this change.
Our cattle are run on a variety of pastures. These include dry land lucerne, fodder crops, stubbles and native pastures. Depending on seasonal rain, our feed supply wavers between feast and famine and the cattle have to adjust accordingly. This means that they must do well in the good times and still manage to maintain condition, rear their calves and rejoin in tough times as well. We feel that our cattle can thrive and prosper in any Australian environment.
In 2018 we calved down over 300 purebred Shorthorn females, including 70 heifers. Through selective breeding, almost all of our 2019 calves are eligible for full Herdbook registration. Cows are joined for seven weeks and are always pregnancy tested. Empty cows and those who do not rear a calf are culled. There are no second chances. We have culled our heifers rigorously over the years and sell those few who need assistance. Calves are yard weaned, drenched and given a 7in1 injection. Our home bred animals are extremely quiet.
We believe that our animals would complement any beef cattle herd anywhere in either a purebred or crossbred operation.