SHORTHORN cattle have been the backbone of the Faulks family’s grazing operation since the 1950s, and they’re still performing well today.
Angus and Tiffany Faulks, along with Angus’s parents Stuart and Gae Faulks, will join more than 600 breeders in the weaner production based at “Arranmore”, Manilla, this year.
The family focuses on European Union-accredited weaner production, but has also sold into the Pasturefed Cattle Assurance System (PCAS) and Thousand Guineas program.
Cattle are mainly sold online over AuctionsPlus.
“When you’ve got to present an article like PCAS or EU, the bigger the audience to market to, the better,” Angus Faulks said.
“We’ve sold cattle to from Roma down to Wagga Wagga, and we regularly sell cattle to Orange. The exposure to such a big area isn’t there going through the local yards.”
Among the bloodlines used are Dunbeacon, Nero, Nagol Park and Yamburgan.
Mr Faulks has been buying cattle through the Shorthorn Spring Fling sale at Tamworth for the past eight years.
“They’ve been quite focused on keeping the quality at the sale quite high to keep the interest there and there are some really nice bulls coming through now.”
Mr Faulks looks for strong maternal traits such as milk, as well as good 200- and 400-day growth.
”We’ve got traditionally large cows so our 600-day weights are already there for our clients, who need an animal that will continue to grow out.
“We’re focused on producing calves that are well-fleshed, growing out nicely and have the ability to lay down fat.”
The operation has a split joining, prompted by an outbreak of pestivirus in 2007 which resulted in a 50 per cent conception rate.
“We join for eight weeks, starting on October 1 and have a second joining in March, but we’re looking to reduce that herd and build up the October joining. We’ll end up with one joining again, which will let us run all of the cows in one mob.”
All cattle are yard weaned about a month before sale. They usually weigh between 260 kilograms and 280kg at sale.
“We don’t sell them straight off mum and we’ve had very positive feedback from clients who have bought weaner cattle in the past and have been disappointed because they’re so stirry,” Mr Faulks said.
“Our weaners are very quiet and we use low stress stock handling on all our cattle.
”Yard weaning does means that we’ve taken a hit and lost production while they wean, but it doesn’t reflect negatively on us.
“We’ve got quite a few repeat clients now, people who are calling asking when the next lot of calves are ready.”