IN TIMES of low prices and fickle cattle markets, breeding cattle that stand out from the crowd can have a major impact on a farmer's bottom line.
And the pursuit of top notch cattle is what prompted a group of local cattle breeders to join forces and form the Bungendore Black Simmental Consortium in 2012, in an attempt to produce a top quality line of cattle that offered more of the traits buyers were after.
The group will have their fourth generation of cattle on show and for sale at a field day on Sunday, August 4 as part of Southern Beef Week, and stud manager Ian Carey said he was expecting another busy day.
"Last year was flat out," he said. "We had people here from early to late, and we sold a lot of cattle." This year the consortium- which is made up of Bungendore-region properties Ashby, Buckingham, Mingarry and Molonglo Park- has its first generation of fully black pole cattle on the market, a feat that's taken 12 years of intensive breeding.
Black Simmentals have become an increasingly sought-after breed for their solid black colour and polled (hornless) attributes, as well as their ability for exceptional weight gain and carcase yield.
Mr Carey said the consortium had paid special attention to breeding for temperament, with the even-tempered females making good mothers with high fertility, calving ease, and extra milking-producing ability.
"We've been very severe on temperament in the breeding of them and it's really worked out. They've just got an excellent temperament," Mr Carey said.
A lot of the consortium's success is also due to the quality of 'Fergus,' a 1200kg stud bull rated one of the best Black Simmental bulls in the country.
And by pooling their resources to develop a unique and sophisticated line of cattle, Mr Carey said the consortium had developed a reputation for quality among buyers.
"In 30 years of selling cattle here I've never had someone not buy a bull. If they come here to buy a bull, they all end up leaving with one, so that tells you something of the quality," he said.
* The Consortium's field day will be held at Buckingham Stud cattle yards, 515 Tarago Road, Bungendore on Sunday, August 4 from 9am - 3pm. Follow the signs from the Bungendore Roundabout.