Australian Brahman Breeders’ Association
Rockhampton Grammar School Agricultural Industry Advisory Group
There are plenty of ways to describe Ashley Kirk…a third generation Red Brahman breeder, an advocate of IVF and ethical livestock practices or, quite simply, a hard-working cattleman. To prove the real mettle of the man, you’ve got to rewind to 2012 when Bovine Johne’s Disease was detected at his family’s Rockley property. Ashley’s response was to reassess, relocate and rebuild in a way that’s positioned him at the peak of his industry.
To develop the new-look stud at Ungarra, Ashley drew upon the family’s extensive experience (more than 60 years of breeding Red Brahmans) and set about improving upon the already impressive genetics they’d developed. Innately enquiring, collaborative and methodical in his approach to research and development, Ashley embraced an IVF system designed to rapidly produce superior progeny whilst preserving their irreplaceable genetics.
Committed to ongoing visual assessment and data collection, Ashley has developed seven elite breeding attributes upon which all Rockley Brahmans’ bulls and females are assessed. Additionally, he’s adopted a meticulous elite weaner grading system. In effect, these practices help reassure purchasers that the Red Brahmans purchased from Rockley Brahmans will be efficient, fertile and of sound temperament to easily integrate with existing herds.
Ashley’s overwhelming mission is to deliver cattle that live up to expectations. He wants stud and commercial customers to know exactly what they’re buying. To this end, Ashley provides ongoing consultation, inviting input and welcoming ongoing feedback. He always makes time to talk about how other studs are going, their challenges and how he can help.
It’s in his nature to take a hands-on approach. Ashley attributes his tireless work ethic to his mum and dad, Sally and Chris. Chris is Ashley’s mentor, providing sage advice right from when he started mustering as a school boy. Ashley appreciates his parents’ unconditional support and credits his mum as being a ‘brilliant communicator’ capable of bringing everyone together, a trait that he hopes will rub off on him.
Today, Ashley’s become a mentor in his own right. He’s joined the Agricultural Industry Advisory Group at the Rockhampton Grammar School and hopes to encourage more young people to carve out successful careers on the land.
Committed to ongoing education, Ashley has taken part in a range of courses covering low stress handling techniques and artificial insemination. His industry peers awarded him a 2013 Australian Beef Industry Foundation (ABIF) Scholarship to take part in the Marcus Oldham Rural Leadership Program. Then, in 2015 he was one of only nine young Australians chosen to participate in the Graeme Acton Beef Connections Mentor Program. These are the accolades Ashley’s unlikely to tell you about.
He’s unassuming and more likely to roll up his sleeves and lend a hand than to stand back and issue instructions. It’s that ‘get in and get things done’ approach that’s central to how he and his family have always conducted their business.
Although he feels most at home at Ungarra, Ashley travels extensively. In recent years he has attended World Brahman Congresses in Panama and South Africa as well as heading elsewhere to gain international insights into breeding elite Red Brahmans.
Ashley’s played rugby for more than a decade, representing Rockhampton, Central Queensland and Queensland Country. When he hung up his rugby boots in 2012, he took on a coaching role with his beloved Dawson Valley Drover’s.