OPERATING a diverse mixed farming operation across 225,405 hectares, Australian Food and Agriculture Company (AFA) run a purebred Hereford herd made up of around 2400 breeders.
Running both autumn and spring calving mobs, across their Coonamble and Deniliquin properties, AFA livestock general manager Justin Campbell said numbers are well back following the drought.
"We aren't looking to rebuild after the drought, we might try to trade a few steers, but our country has done it pretty hard and we need to let it get away," Mr Campbell said.
"Plus we run a substantial number of sheep, around 72,000 breeders."
They run 1200 breeding cows in the north, and around 1200 across the holding in the south.
Herefords have been the chosen breed for a large number of years, and continue to be used for their length of body and type, as well as heat tolerance.
"We like the confirmation of Herefords - they have big large bodies, in good seasons the top cows weigh 800 kilogram," he said.
"They are used to our heat, and do really well."
A repeat volume buyer of the 2019 Ironbark Hereford bull sale, AFA purchased 18 bulls for their Coonamble and Deniliquin properties. They topped at $7000, twice, and averaged $6000.
"We look at for everything when buying bulls, including a good type," Mr Campbell said.
"We want a good dark colour Hereford, with eye pigment, and good growth that will help them perform in the feedlots.
"Also some low birthweight bulls, to use over our heifers."
Targeting the feedlot market, they like to get steers to around 450kg at 16 months.
"Some go into our own feedlot (at Conargo), others have gone up to northern feedlots - it depends on the price," he said.
"It has probably been two to three years since we sent some to feedlot, because of the drought, but a load recently went to a feedlot near Inverell.
"The last couple of years we had to offload them as weaners straight off mum to Victorian buyers, because feedlots wouldn't take the little weaners."
Excess, classed-out females are sold to restockers either through the saleyards, AuctionsPlus or word-of-mouth through agents.
"Angus might be the flavour, but there are still a lot of people chasing Herefords," Mr Campbell said.
Females are classed for phenotype including type, structure, body and colour pigment, creating an even line of breeding cows.
"Last week we classed, and are retaining about 60 to 65 per cent of the heifers for replacements," he said.
"We are also looking at the export job for young females."