Chasing the perfect silhouette at Angus Pastoral

Chasing the perfect silhouette at Angus Pastoral

Grow Queensland
Josie and Blair Angus with steers at "Kimberley Station", near Moranbah. Photo: Kelly Butterworth

Josie and Blair Angus with steers at "Kimberley Station", near Moranbah. Photo: Kelly Butterworth


Need for consistency drives innovation at Angus Pastoral.


CONSUMER-FIRST, fork to paddock, meal solution talk is nothing new to Blair Angus.

Since the days when his father John sold all their fat cattle through the family butcher shop, meal-ready with plenty of words of cooking advice, the focus for Angus family beef production has always been on the customer.

It has underpinned their venture down the branded beef path, which in 18 years has seen the development of six very successful labels under the Signature Beef business exported to more than 30 countries.

And it’s the reason those at the helm of running the cattle and pastoral arm of the operation talk about breeding a silhouette.

Consistency of supply is key to ongoing beef brand success - that’s no secret, according to Mr Angus.

The silhouette concept is also the answer to ongoing production efficiencies, he has found.

Blair and Josie Angus, and children Madelaine, Lauren, John and David, run Angus Pastoral Company on close to 162,000 hectares spread across four properties in central and north western Queensland.

This season, they joined 13,500 European Union-accredited Angus Belmont Red breeders to bulls of the same composite, some bred by themselves but a large number sourced from Greg Chappell’s Glen Innes seedstock operation.

“We’re trying to create the perfect silhouette and it is something that is applicable across all breeds and composites,” Mr Angus explained.

“It’s about optimum muscle, shape and size, the right hip shape and frame and texture of hair.

“It’s a moderate animal that survives all seasons and enables us to consistently produce a level of quality in our beef.”

The silhouette theme is clearly working on a number of levels.

During this latest drought, Angus Pastoral has only had to drop back to 85 per cent of  capacity, along with reducing induction weights slightly at its on-property feedlot.

The 12,500 hectare “Kimberley Station” at Moranbah, mostly Brigalow pastures with some buffel and stylos, Mitchell grasses and Flinders, is the homestead property.

It’s best paddocks run better than a beast per 2.5 acres.

The nearby black and red loamy soil properties “Sondella” and “Chesterfield” also serve as backgrounding country.

It is the 121,500ha “Carpentaria”, north west of Charters Towers, with its native species of high quality Mitchell and Flinders grasses, good stylos and bit of buffel, that is the breeding ground.

Angus Pastoral breeds 60 of its own bulls per year and sources up to 80 from the Chappells.

Calves are weaned generally by nine months and moved south for backgrounding before being inducted to the feedlot at  26 to 30 months, around 300 kilograms.

Cattle are tailored to brands, through either the 120 day program or the hand-selected Oino Gustus brand 200-day plus program.

All prime cattle go through Signature Beef.

Hamish McArthur keeps an eye on "Kimberley Station" maiden heifers, joined in January.

Hamish McArthur keeps an eye on "Kimberley Station" maiden heifers, joined in January.

“We think of ourselves as food producers,” Josie Angus said.

“We’ve always had a clear focus on breeding cattle to eat and developing brands was about taking that a step further.

“When we make a management decision, we think about how it affects the consumer.

“We ask ourselves is it repeatable, what are the economics of doing it?”

There are so many ways to add value, she said.

“Whether it be working hard to create a high quality product in the paddock, through to producing a bullock with a steak that is the right size for a plate and looking after the resources we have - it’s all about adding value to a beef business,” she said.

“It’s constantly asking how do we produce something that creates its own demand, that people want to come back to time and again.”


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