Arnie’s legacy: building Australian Brahman genetics

Arnie’s legacy: building Australian Brahman genetics

*The featured image shows my grandfather Arnie Kirk with Arrow J Millionaire 300

At the 2007 Rockhampton Brahman Week Sale, 13% of red bulls sold were by imported sires. At the same sale in 2017, the figure had dropped to just over 2%.* Clearly, an increasing percentage of Brahman genetics is now sourced in Australia rather than overseas. This reflects significant improvements in the Australian industry which we at Rockley are proud to pass on to our customers.

Rockley’s aim has always been to produce an Australian Brahman bloodline that performs extremely well in our unique environment and delivers profitability for our customers in the business of beef, breeding and backgrounding.

American red Brahman genetics have had a strong influence in Australia from the early 1980s when pioneers like my grandfather Arnie first introduced new bloodlines from the US. This meant shipping animals from the US to Australia via the quarantine station on the Cocos Islands. Well after the American influence, genetics from South Africa were also introduced. These trailblazing efforts enabled established breed characteristics to be reliably transferred to Australia.

For over 60 years, Rockley has strived to breed Brahmans that meet the specific requirements of Australian customers. This has resulted in our development and refinement of breeding programs that aim to enhance those traits that are most valuable in the Australian marketplace given our unique climate and geography. We have identified the 7 elite breeding attributes that guide our approach to breeding.

Rockley bulls are bred to hold condition in extremely hot and/or wet weather, tolerate ticks and survive on pasture that may be low in nutrition and protein at times. Many of our customers need animals that can be easily and safely handled in paddocks, yards, feedlots and when being transported, as mentioned in our case study.

We have also produced a uniform, balanced, visually appealing and consistent line of elite females that are easily identifiable as ‘the Rockley type’. And now that our females’ phenotype meets our high standards, we have broadened our focus to include fertility, a trait that increases an animal’s productivity and is therefore very valuable for our customers.

At Rockley Brahmans, we are extremely proud of our reputation for consistently producing elite red Brahmans. Our full breeding history is measured and understood using our Weaner Grading SystemBREEDPLAN, EBVs and genetics technology. As a result our pairing of specific dams and sires produces generations of reliable genetics that we can pass on to our customers. At present we are witnessing an increase in the number of red bulls sired by grey imported sires (mainly JDH bloodlines), which is also contributing to the breadth and depth of Australian Brahman genetics.

* The actual numbers are:
2007 RBWS: 52 out of 391 red section sale bulls were by imported sires
2017 RBWS: 10 out of 438 red section sale bulls were by imported sires

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For more information, please call me (Ashley) on 0408 780 810.

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