There is always plenty of competition at the weaner sales and we have been focused on getting our steers ready for those sales whether the season is good or bad- Dale Quilter, Belalie, Sandigo
Selling their annual draft of yard weaned Angus steer weaners during the annual blue riband weaner sale at Wodonga in January proved the Quilter family were on the right breeding direction on the family farm Belalie, Sandigo, via Narrandera.
Offering 124 nine to ten month steers, their top pen of 26 weighing 334kg sold for $1180 while the draft which averaged 302kg sold for $1027.
"Angus cattle are getting a premium in the market, that is why we have been breeding them for a few years," Dale Quilter said.
"There is always plenty of competition at the weaner sales and we have been focused on getting our steers ready for those sales whether the season is good or bad."
Dale and his brother Shaun are partners with their parents Mark and Kerrie on the 4000ha property which has been in the family since 1913.
Their Angus breeders compliment a large scale winter cropping operation and a Dohne sheep enterprise.
Joined for an Autumn calving, the family will have 360 females to calve this year.
"We have been slowly building numbers in response to increased demand for Angus cattle, and we are also very confident in the future of the demand for red meat," Shaun Quilter said.
"It has been a slow increase because we are very strict on conformation and temperament, but this year we will join around 460 cows and heifers.
"We keep our cows in the herd while they have a calf, if they miss a joining they are culled, but we give our heifers a second chance."
And while fertility is an important trait at Belalie, temperament is a focus for the brothers when classing their maiden heifers and also when selecting replacement bulls from Jock Harbison at Dunoon Angus stud at Holbrook.
"We are very strict on conformation in our heifers especially having good feet but we look at length and depth of body and growth for their age," Dale Quilter said.
"When selecting bulls at Dunoon at their spring sale, we are also conscious of correct conformation and look at the bull's figures such as low birthweight. intramuscular fat and 600 day weight.
"The higher that weight is the better because it shows he has the potential of good weight gain.
"We also try to buy bulls which Jock has used over his heifers, we know he will have used them with confidence."
The Quilter family have been sourcing bulls from Dunoon for many years with confidence in Jock Harbison's genetic direction.
"The production here at Belalie is what we are happy with, but we are always looking to lift that production," Dale Quilter said.
"And we think breeding Angus cattle will help us with that aim."
All cattle at Belalie are grazed on improved pastures, which are Lucerne-based and include chicory and ryegrass.
Stock are supplementary fed if the season has turned dry, with hay and silage.
"We want to ensure that when we send the weaners to Wodonga that they are in the best condition," Shaun Quilter said.
"Obviously presenting them as best we can also attracts more competition from buyers.
"And being yard weaned, we think gives the buyers more confidence in buying our steers and weaner heifers."
A further sale option for surplus heifers is the opportunity to sell them pregnancy tested in calf.