Operating as Hayes Grazing Partnership, Richard ‘Milton’ and Madeline Hayes, run their operation from Hillbilly, situated at Cambooya, in Toowoomba.
Milton said they also have holdings in the Maranoa region: Oakleigh Hills and Larapinta, which consist of creek flats and wattle tree scrub country.
“We used to own six properties but through succession planning one was sold, herd numbers were reduced, and our three sons run stock on the remaining properties,” he said.
Milton said the rain didn’t stop through 2022.
“We faced the usual issues with damage to flood gates and fences, and erosion occurring, but the cattle fared well.”
He described the Angus as “bloody good cattle”.
“They have good conformation, a quiet temperament, and they’re easy to market. The natural poll gene is also very useful.”
In their program, Angus are joined to Santa Gertrudis x Charolais females, and Shorthorn bulls are joined to the resulting Angus-cross females.
“This allows us to get a bit of leg in the cattle. It does get dry here so the cattle need to be able to step out a bit.”
Milton said the bulls are put in the paddock between Christmas and New Year’s Day and are removed between March and April.
“Across all seasons we’re strict on culling on fertility and calves that don’t meet our requirements. Through this process, we’ve achieved at least a 93 per cent fertility rate.”
He said they target the feeder market with steers as young as six-months-old.
“We used to grow out to bullock weights, but that has all changed. Now when we wean, anything that’s marketable goes. Our returns have continued to be strong.
“We stock fairly conservatively, if a paddock should run 100 head, we don’t go one head over.”
To further improve their Angus genetics, Milton has been purchasing bulls from Jim and Jackie Wedge, Ascot Cattle Co, for six years.
“Ascot produces great cattle, both Angus and Charolais. We bought five bulls this year that are all performing well. The Wedges are easy to deal with as well.”
Author – Matt Sherrington