By Matt Sherrington, QCL
Although they’ve purchased other breeds since, the Jansen family have achieved top results for 14 years using the Simmental as a crossbreeding option.
After the passing of her husband Richard (Dick) in January this year, Jenny, with the assistance of her son William, runs crossbred steers and heifers on the family-owned, 7600 acre Riverview Station on the Belyando River 30km east of Alpha.
“We breed and can fatten on Riverview, though we change direction depending on the how the season is looking, prices and markets,” Jenny said.
“We have 1300 acres of timbered country at Riverview which we use in winter. The rest of our country is stick raked, ploughed and we’ve used Graslan,” she said.
“As we plough more country, we’ll look to increase the size of our breeder herd and also hopefully be able to hold on to all of our cattle for longer.
“We’re understocked at present due to not having good quality dam water rain, as we only have one very salty bore at present, but our feed is fine, and we’re fortunate to be able to sell in a good market recently.
“We lease an adjoining stock route of 1500 acre with water from the Belyando River. So all the hard work is done to make mustering easy and we’re now looking to optimise what we’ve achieved to get better returns on the cattle we produce.”
The Jansen’s have been using Simmental bulls in their crossbreeding operations over Droughtmaster, Brahman and Charolais-cross females for 14 years and Jenny said the they’ve always been happy with the progeny they’ve produced.
We purchased our first bulls from the Skene family, Meldon Park Simmentals, and their strong genetics have lingered through several generations of offspring.
She said the Simmental provides several benefits including a high feed conversion ratio which is useful for the cattle they send to the feedlots, “and the progeny also reach a high boning percentage out on the kill floor at the meatworks”.
“We send off steers at an average weight of 380kg to 400kg to the feedlots, though we do keep some on to 540kg to 560kg, or better. We also sell heifers as weaners in the 260kg to 320kg weight range, and keep some to aside to sell to the processors at 440kg to 460kg.”
Jenny said they decided to go back to Simmental recently to get a bit more weight in their progeny.
“Jan Bradshaw, Blue Dog Simmentals, Wandoan, had some of her bulls in the Ag-Grow sale at Emerald a couple of years ago, of which she sent us some photos, and invited us to have a look at the bulls on property.
“Dick said it would be best to take the truck, so off we went, and we came back with four bulls.”
She said they were very happy with these bulls and the progeny they produced.
“The Blue Dog bulls and their progeny are extremely quiet, their weight for age is good, they’re hardy, and they produce heavier weaning weights, which means we ca turn them off earlier.
“All Jan’s bulls scanned very well on fat, have very high EMA’s, high fertility and morphology.
“I feel confident they will do well in most markets. They they always have white fat as well which is important as sometimes in winter, some breeds return with slight yellow fat which leads to a slight reduction in the price you receive at the meatworks.”
Jenny said when selecting bulls at sales temperament is of the utmost importance.
“We buy docile bulls so that their progeny are quiet, settle well and enjoy our company.
“We would like to see studs include more morphology with their semen tests, as higher fertility would hopefully mean less bulls would be required on-property leading to less fighting and injuries, and we would have more money in our pockets to purchase better bulls.”
She said other important traits are long backs, a good frame, good weight gain data, bone, a deep body, a good rump, and a thick tail.
“We also take EMA’s into consideration and we watch for cattle with high tails.
“No doubt, the most perfect bulls are the dearest and those aren’t financially achievable for us, so we choose bulls that are as close to what we want as possible in the price range we can afford.”
Jenny told the Queensland Country Life that she’s keeping the operation running to the best of her abilities.
“I was blessed with a good teacher, my husband, to achieve these things.
“Richard would have loved to have provided information and have been interviewed for this story as he was a people’s man and loved conversation.
“He was always open to ideas and change, and loved to pass on his experiences and abilities.”