Growing up in the realms of a butcher shop idyllically situated among the North Queensland cane fields, Peter Chiesa’s rise into beef cattle breeding may come as a surprise.
As it turns out, there could not have been a more perfect fit, as Mr Chiesa had his seedstock business, Palm Creek Brahmans, Ingham, operating by the age of 14.
Also the Australian Brahman board North Queensland chairman, Mr Chiesa said he became accustomed to what was important in meat production through the family butcher operation and now runs 250 breeders of his own.
Changes within market trends and the flow-on effect through the supply chain to the slaughterhouse have not escaped Mr Chiesa’s attention and he enjoyed seeing his generation feature heavily in improvements to cattle breeding.
“We’re creating something new all the time. It’s a non-standard result, A plus B equals C doesn’t work and the next wave of beef producers are backing that,” he said.
Mr Chiesa said there was a building passion and drive within the beef industry and new technologies might make big dreams a reality for many.
“Many people don’t really understand genomic developments and just want to buy the bull they see in front of them,” he said.
“In North Queensland, we are first and foremost trying to get cattle to survive – meat quality comes next.
“If we had access to figures on a sire’s growth, weight gain and overall performance there’s a chance we could reach optimal production far more quickly.”
Nick Curran, Stenbar Brahman Stud, Condamine, Queensland, has invested his life in the day-to-day operations of his family’s seedstock business.
Originating in 1984, the stud has a commitment to producing true to type Brahmans to meet the demands of the often harsh Australian climate.
Mr Curran said Brahmans were known for their durability in dry conditions as well as their elevated level of tick resistance, both qualities the breed needed to maintain.
“It’s all well and good to be producing an article, but we need to produce the right article to sell it,” he said.
“As long as we have supply and demand we’ll have a market for our cattle and demand comes down to continuing traits that make your article attractive.”
Mr Curran said technological advancements made breeding for traits more possible but much of the information on the potential within genomic testing was still under lock and key.
“Technology has gone above and beyond what we can expect and it’s changing many roles within the industry,” he said.
“My overall hope for the Australian beef industry is to get our national cattle numbers back up and while this is challenging given current market prices, perhaps these new technologies will speed up the process.”
James Kent, Ooline Brahmans, Goovigen, Queensland, thrives on the challenge of being a young beef producer with clearly drawn goals for sustainability directing his decisions.
The Kent family has a 30-year history with Ooline Brahmans and Mr Kent said the key to longevity was finding a balance between being open to new ideas and sticking to what works.
“There’s no doubt we need to keep on the front foot with research and development but there’s also a lot of merit in getting back to basics and selecting good cattle,” Mr Kent said. “Producers are often oversaturated with information – everyone tries to put their own spin on current trends and many cattlemen and women find themselves lost.”
He said selection based on a balance of figures and phenotype would benefit most producers.
“We can’t lose sight of the end product, which is to breed quality beef,” he said.
“The fact we’re breeding bulls doesn’t take the focus away from our role as beef producers and like everyone in the industry, we want to use an effective combination of available tools to provide the best.”
Ryan Olive, Raglan Brahmans, Raglan, Queensland. "There’s no reason not to strive for the perfect result."
Ryan Olive’s pursuit of grey Brahman perfection was natural, with grandparents on both sides of his family having dedicated their lives to the breed.
Mr Olive said the sense of achievement when goals fell into place were the most enjoyable moments at Raglan Brahmans, Raglan, Qld.
“Besides being born into the breed I appreciate their intelligent nature and low maintenance characteristics. They’re also really suited to our markets and they do the job for us,” he said.
Mr Olive said Brahman cattle had undergone vast improvements since the introduction of embryo and IVF technology and the future was wide open for greater developments.
“Anything we can use to be more efficient has to benefit the industry. If seedstock producers can keep using the best genetics in conjunction with reproductive technologies the flow on effect can only be good for the entire industry,” he said.
“Imagine if we could achieve a calving percentage of more than 100 per cent like the sheep industry, or if weight gains of pasture fed cattle could match that of grain fed cattle.
“There’s no reason not to strive for the perfect result.”
Having grown up on a mixed cattle and sheep property on the Darling Downs in QLD Chloe has always had an interest in livestock agriculture.
“Throughout school I was fortunate enough to expand on this passion, completing a certificate III in agriculture and a cert III in equine, while being able to attend livestock related events and still be able to be involved with operations at home,” she said.
“Throughout this time I realised that the seedstock/bloodstock industries is where my real passion and interests lie. Determined to get into this area, I then went on to study a Bachelor of Sustainable Agriculture majoring in livestock science at the University of Queensland, graduating at the end of 2016.
“In March this year I started working at the Australian Brahman Breeders Association, and have been enjoying being immersed in the seedstock industry, and am particularly looking forward to the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.”