Brown family going black at ‘Cross Hills’

Brown family going black at ‘Cross Hills’


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After a quarter of a century overseeing the production of Angus cattle, Hugh and Sheridon Brown, Newbridge, have a lot of experience in getting the best out of their Angus herd.

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Mr Brown is the fifth generation of his family to farm on the 1200ha family property, “Cross Hills.”

The couple work in conjunction with Hugh’s parents, Joe and Eve Brown, and now run a total of 500 Angus breeding cows. 

Prior to the introduction of Angus bulls 25 years ago, the family ran a herd of predominantly Braford cattle.

“At the time we decided to go down the Angus route, you were beginning to see a big shift towards black cattle across the board.

“Much better returns were already starting for black cattle, so we brought Angus bulls in and bred back from our Braford base.”

It took the family about a decade to turn the red and white herd to the predominantly black herd you see today.

Mr Brown said that Angus cattle were far more suited to the conditions in their Central Tablelands location.

“With the low temperatures, Angus is a lot more capable in the conditions than some other breeds.”

The Browns have been purchasing bulls from the Kywarra Angus stud, Carcoar, for a number of years and have found the bulls match well with the desired traits the family tries to achieve for their herd.

“We have a stong focus on milkability, fertility and good frames for calving heifers.”

The most important trait for the family is growth rate as the Browns market the majority of their cattle to weaner sales.

“The  400-day weights are very important, getting to a reasonable weight quickly before the sales.”

More than half of the heifers are retained as the family aims to slowly expand the herd size over the next few years.

Cows are joined in October-November for an August-September calving. 

While the family has experimented with a variety of joining options, Mr Brown believes he has found the most effective solution for his herd. 

“Mobs of 70 cows are put in with two bulls. We have tried all sorts of different mob sizes but for us 70 seems to work the best. 

“Always worthwhile putting in the second bull in case one isn’t effective.

“We can get the most out of our bulls, without pushing them too hard,” Mr Brown said. 

The Browns join for two cycles, what is not in calf beyond that point is culled. 

Calving percentage is variable but usually sits around 85-90pc. 

The Browns wean their cattle two weeks prior to the CTLX Blue Ribbon Weaner Sale.

“We work hard to have them weaned prior to the sale which means they are a lot quieter and easier so that whoever buys them can get the result from them,” Mr Brown said.

Most of the young cattle are turned off between 280-340kg, which the majority heading to the weaner sales at over 300kg. 

Mr Brown said that the cold climate can be restrictive in terms of profitable long-term weight gain, making the weaner sales the perfect time to offload young cattle before winter. 

Hugh, Sheridon and Joe Brown, "Cross Hills", Newbridge, beside a pen of Angus steer weaners they sold at the CTLX weaner sale in April. Photo: Rachael Webb

Hugh, Sheridon and Joe Brown, "Cross Hills", Newbridge, beside a pen of Angus steer weaners they sold at the CTLX weaner sale in April. Photo: Rachael Webb

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