Being able to buy from two breeds and source performance recorded cattle from top studs is a big benefit of the Red Angus and Simmental National Show and Sale, according to Chinchilla crossbreeder Greg Lithgow.
Mr Lithgow and his wife Andrea, along with his brother Kent and his wife Sharon, and their uncle John, run a multiple-breed crossbreeding operation on 4850 hectares across three properties in the western downs – Allinga, Old Allinga, and Koala.
The Lithgow brothers are fourth-generation beef producers, and have been breeding composite cattle for the past 40 years using Santa Gertrudis, Angus, Senepol, Red Angus and black Simmental genetics.
Mr Lithgow bought five bulls from the 2017 sale catalogue – one Red Angus and four Simmentals, including a Sydney Royal champion – from Webb Black Simmentals, Hobbs Livestock and Goondoola Red Angus.
He bought from those studs on the advice of his cousin Roger Evans, Nagol Park Shorthorns and Bovine Scanning Services, Tamworth.
His main reason for buying out of the national sale was to purchase affordable, but quality genetics.
"Bulls in Queensland sold later in the season get a lot dearer," Mr Lithgow said.
"I looked at Simmentals on the way down to Dubbo, but buying from the multi-vendor sale means there are good quality bulls at an affordable price."
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The Santa blood gives the cattle the hardiness and adaptability they need to handle tough conditions, while the Simmentals and Angus gives the progeny good growth and carcase attributes, and the ability to receive a black premium, Mr Lithgow said.
Most progeny is backgrounded for feedlots, with steers going around 400 kilograms and heifers at approximately 340kg, anywhere from 14 to 20 months of age.
"We sold steers and heifers at Dalby a few weeks ago and the black steers made 12 cents more a kilogram than the red steers of the same weight, and it was about the same for heifers too."
Breeders are joined according to breed, with the Lithgows rotating bulls to have a mix of breeds in each animal.
Mr Lithgow said he was looking for bulls with calving ease, fertility and temperament, then high growth, and good muscle and fat cover.
"When we were using composite bulls, we found the three-breed mix resulted in a crossbred female with the best production. We're looking for performance recorded cattle, and that's where the Angus and black Simmental cattle are great - they have good data and fairly consistent data."