The Willandra property
Our home, Willandra, is a 1700 hectare property in the Williams Shire and is approximately 145km south east of Perth, Western Australia. The farm receives an average annual rainfall of 500mm and is in a mixed farming region where both livestock and cropping enterprises are strongly represented. We are a fourth generation family owned and operated farm business, specializing in breeding high quality stud Simmental and Red Angus cattle.
The beef enterprise at Willandra consists of approximately 180 stud Simmental breeding females, 130 stud Red Angus breeding females and 440 Simmental/Red Angus cross commercial breeders. Approximately 280ha of oats are grown annually, mainly for hay production to supplementary feed cattle on Willandra when pastures are inadequate, particularly through late summer to early winter.
Commercial calves are weaned at 7-9 months of age at an average live weight of 300kg or better. These calves are then sold on to a local feedlot, where they are fed for 70 to 90 days to achieve carcase weights upward of 250kg for the domestic market. Our commercial herd provides us with the perfect platform to test the genetics of our stud Simmental and Red Angus herds which ensures that out our bull buying clients are getting the genetics required to improve the profitability of their beef herds.
The main event and highlight of the year for our stud enterprise is our annual on-property bull sale which is held in February. All sale bulls are rising two year olds of the highest quality and are guaranteed for fertility, temperament and structural soundness.
Our breeding philosophy
At Willandra our aim is to deliver superior quality genetics that increase returns for our commercial and seedstock clients.
We recognise the importance of efficiency and production in the cow herd to maintain a sustainable and profitable cattle breeding business. To ensure that a Willandra sire delivers on our promise of superior performance, our stud Simmental and Red Angus cattle run under the same conditions as our commercial herd and are selected on a combination of functional, performance and visual assessments. All of the cows at Willandra are required to have a strong constitution to withstand sometimes extreme seasonal variability, a strong reproductive capability and a high level of feed efficiency to maximise production.
Visual appraisal has been the single most valuable tool in applying selection pressure to our stud cattle. Our family has been doing it this way for four generations of breeding quality livestock (we find ourselves now beginning to teach the fifth generation!) and we pride ourselves on doing it well. It allows us to assess accurately the animal’s structure, balance, temperament and overall quality. We are also strong supporters of performance recording and consider Breedplan another very valuable selection tool. We diligently collect and submit accurate and meaningful data to ensure we get the best possible information from the EBVs. Every single stud calf is weighed at birth, we collect all growth traits and scan our cattle for carcase information. Combining visual appraisal with a balanced approach to selection across multi-trait EBVs, we aim to breed Simmental and Red Angus sires for our clients that produce moderate birth weight calves that grow quickly and have excellent carcase attributes.
About Charles and his work with Simmentals
Charles has been a diligent supporter of the Simmental breed for over 41 years. He served on the Simmental Association’s W.A. State Council from 1972 to 2013 and served on the Australian Council from 1994 -2007, including a three year term as Australian president. His extensive experience in breeding and judging Simmentals coupled with his contributions to development of the breed and the association were recognised when he was awarded life membership to Simmental Australia and the WSFF Golden Book Award.