Cross brings the right weight

Clarence Valley cross-bred suits the country and meets the market

Beef
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Cows for your country and bulls for your market is how Tracey Conroy describes her calf breeding system and Charolais plays an important role in delivering kilos of beef to market.

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Terminal Charolais works over a variety of breeds to deliver kilograms at weaning on the Clarence river's historic Newbold station.

Terminal Charolais works over a variety of breeds to deliver kilograms at weaning on the Clarence river's historic Newbold station.

Cows for your country and bulls for your market is how Tracey Conroy describes her calf breeding system and Charolais plays an important role in delivering kilos of beef to market.

With 1400 hectares on one side of the river at Pulginbar and another 450ha directly opposite on historic Newbold, Ms Conroy runs 600 breeders divided into four separate herds, with Charolais as a terminal sire, bringing a weight bonus.

There are another 200ha adjoining Newbold where Ms Conroy runs replacement heifers, joined to Angus. Calving close to home means she can keep an eye on proceedings and after that they can move to their designated paddock, based on breeding.

This part of the North Coast has not had the rain. On the Clarence the grass is short, from a drier than average autumn. Wide-spread frost in late May turned paddocks white and it's a surprise to see any green pick at all.

"On this country, straight British or European breeds need a cross, because if we go three months with no rain it's a shocker," said Ms Conroy, the daughter of one of the valley's most regarded cattlemen.

"By using Charolais I couldn't get a better product. My calves are 20 to 30 kilograms heavier and it's the bull that's doing all the hard work. The versatility of these sires are second-to-none."

Tracey Conroy, Newbold, on the Clarence, maintains a low-Brahman content in her Charolais breeders.

Tracey Conroy, Newbold, on the Clarence, maintains a low-Brahman content in her Charolais breeders.

In a good year calves off mum weigh 380kg. This summer, in spite of the drought, weaners have come to the selling pen at 350kg.

Ms Conroy yard weans for select clients, providing a quiet steer without having to go through the saleyards.

When it comes to extra expense the former banker, reared by a hard-headed father, is realistic.

"Inputs, in the current market conditions, don't make sense," she says. "There's no money just right now for pasture improvement."

Ms Conroy finds the Euro cross Angus/ Brahman produces a suitable weaner for the Grafton market.

"Local buyers and feedlot backgrounders are looking for that Brahman cross," she explains, and describes her individual herds of Charolais/Brahman and vice versa; Angus/Brangus and Santa/Angus.

"With my low-Brahman content Charbray I make sure there is no hump.

"They must be straight backed with a slick coat for this sub-tropical environment."

When it comes to pure Angus bulls Ms Conroy buys from the coast, and says she is a huge fan of the Lyle family's efforts at Yorklea, via Casino.

Her Charolais bulls are all purchased from Minnie Vale, Narrabri, bringing excellent temperament.

Bizzy and Jomanda studs on the Clarence provide the herd's Brahman genetics.

Tracey Controy's calves are 20 to 30 kilograms heavier and it's the bull that's doing all the hard work.

Tracey Controy's calves are 20 to 30 kilograms heavier and it's the bull that's doing all the hard work.

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