For third generation beef producer Malcolm Beresford, having an easy doing, fertile and productive cow herd is the key to profitability on his 2,500 hectare property “Bonyvilla”, east of Biggenden.
“We introduced Limousins into the herd 23 years ago,” Malcolm recalls. “Back then the cows were generally a Simbrah base, but had come from Brafords and Herefords before that.”
“As soon as the Limousin cross calves hit the ground we knew they were too good to be just a terminal calf, so we kept some replacement heifers.”
The Beresford’s now run a commercial herd of 300 cows, with all cows having a Limousin influence ranging from 25% to 75% content. Red Braham bulls are used over the high content Limousin cows and Limousin bulls over the more Braham types.
“Plenty of people will tell you that Limousins are only a terminal sire, but of all the breeds we’ve been involved with over the years, Limousins are outstanding maternal cattle and well
suited to our sort of country,” Malcolm said.
“They have calves that hit the ground small which means calving problems are all but non-existent and then they explode with growth thanks to the milkability of the Limousin cow.”
The Limousin cows have also proved themselves to be well adapted to the low phosphorus, coastal type country that the Beresford’s operate in.
“The Limousin cows handle the conditions as good, if not better than any other breed we’ve used,” Malcolm said. “They have without a doubt improved the fertility of our herd whilst at the same time improving our overall profitability by adding muscle and growth to our cattle.”
All steers and surplus heifers are finished in the on-farm feedlot, which they generally enter at around 300kg. Steers and heifers are both fed for the domestic trade market with a target carcase weight of between 250 and 300kg.
“The Limousin cattle feed well and produce a carcase that is hard to beat,” said Malcolm. “It is rare for the carcase not to grade under the MSA system and we regularly have carcases grading MSA 1 and 2. People told us we couldn’t do that with Limousin either.”
Whilst the domestic trade market is the key target for the Beresford’s, they have also sold cattle into the weaner, feeder and JapOx markets. Malcolm confirms that the flexibility in marketing was another key benefit of Limousins over other breeds.
When asked about temperament, Malcolm is quick to point out that whilst Limousins are a very quiet breed now that has not always been the case.
“20 years ago I would agree that some Limousin cattle had a temperament problem. But Limousin breeders need to be congratulated on the brilliant job they have done in improving the docility of the breed. Anyone that runs Limousin cattle today would agree with that.”
So sure of the temperament of his cattle, Malcolm has recently provided steers to the Bundaberg Christian College to be prepared by the students for the Led Steer classes at the recent Ekka.
The top steer breed by the Beresford’s was entered in the 491-540kg class in a field of 42 steers. The high Limousin content steer finished 3rd in the carcase section and 5th on the hoof with the highest overall points score.
Malcolm’s son, Hayden (14) is also a keen cattleman showing steers that are bred on the property with good success at the Beef 2015 steer competition.