Charolais the 'go-to' for upper Murray producer

Upper Murray livestock producers saved by good rain

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CHAROLAIS SUCCESS: Corryong's Andy Whitsed paid top price for Tsyubi Goldrush Quake at the Southern Charolais Breeders sale, Yea.

CHAROLAIS SUCCESS: Corryong's Andy Whitsed paid top price for Tsyubi Goldrush Quake at the Southern Charolais Breeders sale, Yea.

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Great season in the Upper Murray helps beat bushfire devastation.

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Good rainfall throughout 2020 has helped one upper Murray Valley beef producer bounce back from the devastating fires, which ripped through his property earlier in the year.

Andy Whitsed and Leanne Paton run 200 breeders at Bunroy Station, a 283-hectare property surrounded by state park near Corryong.

"The biggest thing that saved the whole upper Murray was the season we had after the fires," Mr Whitsed said.

"We had 1300 millimetres of rain last year and the growth and feed that came back was amazing.

"If that hadn't happened it would have been pretty dire."

The farm was first purchased in 1980 and was used as a bush block, running 100 beef cows and 100 dairy heifers on a run-off property.

Since then Mr Whitsed and Ms Paton have been running Angus/Charolais-cross cattle, to build hybrid vigour in the weaner calves they sell at Barnawartha and Wangaratta.

He said he started with Rangan Park Charolais bulls but bought in Tysubi bloodlines at the recent Southern Charolais Breeders Group Sale at Yea.

He paid top price of $8500 at the sale for Lot 2, Tsyubi Goldrush Quake (AI) (P).

Quake was one of four bulls he bought at Yea, backing up the next day to pick up another one at Rangan.

"He's a well-finished bull and I thought he was worth the opportunity," he said.

The bulls were among 10 which would be used on the property with weaners turned off at 10-11 months.

"The Charolais tend to grow better in my area," he said.

"I have Angus and Charolais, but the Charolais tend to be a heavier calf, and finish better at that younger age.

"If you were growing them out to 15 months, the Angus would take over.

"Because I am not growing them out the Charolais/Angus crossbred market suits me."

He said most of the buyers of his weaners were growing cattle out to 400-450 kilograms kill weight.

"A lot of cattle don't 'do' in the upper Murray in the colder months of June, July and August, so most of my weaners are gone by May," he said.

He joined for six weeks from August 1 and was currently calving down.

"I use one bull to 25 cows and no AI," he said.

"I joined 33 heifers this year and in the last two years I have bought about 15.

"Calving takes place on the elevated country, making the heifers walk so they are fitter when calving down."

He said he stuck with Charolais, despite the bias towards black cattle.

"The market looks for Angus, but once the hide is off you tell me which one is red, black or brindle," he said.

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