What We Do
NORTH AUSTRALIA’S LEADING
FAMILY PASTORAL COMPANY
Heytesbury Pastoral runs a quality herd of approximately 165,000 Brahman cattle, capable of selling sustainably up to 40,000 head per annum, each bearing the famous “Bull’s Head” brand.
Brahmans are a Bos indicus breed that is resistant to parasites and adapted to tropical conditions, making them ideally suited to the north Australian rangelands and to the live export markets of Asia.
A QUALITY BRAHMAN Herd
Heytesbury Pastoral runs a quality herd of approximately 165,000 Brahman cattle including in excess of 60,000 females being joined each year and with most progeny being turned off as yearlings. The top end portion of the heifer drop is drafted off each year to be retained as future breeders, to continually improve the genetics of our female base. Around 400 bulls are purchased annually, mainly from breeders in Queensland and the Northern Territory.
An emphasis is placed on fertility being the key driver of overall herd production. More recently a breeder segregation program has been implemented in order to match production, nutritional requirements of the herd and the natural environment.
The welfare of cattle is always foremost in decisions when considering different husbandry and transporting options and the company is always striving to achieve and promote higher standards in animal welfare.
Our land asset the single most valuable component of our enterprise and we have a responsibility to maintain its natural values in perpetuity.
Introduced plants are a serious and demanding land management issue faced by pastoralists in the “Top End”. Heytesbury actively pursues the eradication of Class A/P2 weeds such as Prickly Acacia, Mesquite, Baleria across all Stations in line with the legislative requirements. Additional introduced plants requiring localised eradication have been identified and are undergoing treatment. Innovative weed control methods are in use, including aerial spraying and the new Parkinsonia Biological control; the UU Moth.
PEST ANIMAL MANAGEMENT
Heytesbury Pastoral employs proactive and pragmatic approaches to addressing the problems resulting from introduced animal species on our country. The most significant pest animal issue currently faced by pastoralists in the Northern Rangelands are excessive populations of wild dogs which prey on native wildlife and attack stock. The threat is mitigated through an integrated control program of strategic ground baiting, aerial baiting and trapping. Our Managers participate in broader district wide control programs in Western Australia and the Northern Territory.
STOCKING AND PASTURE MANAGEMENT
We manage our pasture resources for long-term sustainability, primarily through a policy of conservative stocking rates (by industry standards). By maintaining moderate herd numbers, Heytesbury Pastoral is able to better withstand fluctuations between seasons and unexpected climatic conditions without placing excessive pressure on our pastures and degrading our land asset. In recent times, a system of rotational spelling has been implemented to allow productive pastures a chance to regenerate.
Fire is a natural and fundamental element to the Northern Australian eco-system. The absence of fire from much of the productive country in the Victoria River District is thought to have contributed to the process of woody thickening by which many of the areas of natural grassland are now being invaded by scrub. To combat this we have initiated a program of spelling and burning incorporating the best practice recommendation from DPIF’s Kidman Springs “Shruburn” trials. Under this system areas affected by woody thickening will be spelled and burnt on a four yearly rotational basis followed by a further wet-season spell to let pastures recover.
Erosion is a serious issue in the Northern Rangeland, especially in the Victoria River District where the high volumes of water experienced in the northern wet-season combine with the rugged topography to produce serious disturbances to soil if not properly managed. To help combat this process, all Station Managers and machinery operators participate in formal soil conservation training to learn the principles of hydrology and erosion mitigation engineering. Both of the major rivers on the VRD lease (the Victoria and Wickham) are fenced so as to exclude stock and arrest the erosion of these rivers that has taken place historically.
The majority of the annual turnoff of 40,000 head is predominantly into the live export trade to countries such as Indonesia and Vietnam, mainly through the port of Darwin. Both steers and heifers, with live weights targeted between 300 – 350 kg are typically exported as feeder cattle for feedlots in Indonesia. An increasing number of heavier feeder cattle are now being exported to Vietnam. Markets for older slaughter type cattle vary with seasonal fluctuations and the influence of both overseas and domestic markets determine the final destination across most states of Australia.
Heytesbury cattle bearing the “Bull’s Head” brand are sought after by various Importers in different Asian countries with a reputation for high quality and quiet cattle backed by solid performance in overseas feedlots.
The ability to supply large consistent lines of quality cattle throughout the year direct from stations ensures we remain a preferred supplier to many exporters and importers. The streamlined production supply chain is efficient and effective with the capability to deliver cattle throughout the year.
Heytesbury Pastoral is committed to supplying cattle only to Australian Exporters and Overseas Importers who comply with the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS) standards.