INCREASED numbers of cattle with Bos Indicus content are moving south as NSW producers who typically deal in British and European breeds look for new opportunities presenting a trading margin.
Queensland agents are reporting backgrounders, traders and even breeders from the border down through the New England region are sourcing as far north as Charters Towers, taking crossbred cattle and also straight grey Brahmans.
Good feed, the prospect of a favourable winter and limited cattle buying options are enticing northern NSW restockers to look both towards Victoria and Queensland and the northern option is seeing tradition thrown out the window.
Elders livestock manager northern zone Paul Holm said the unprecedented nature of the cattle game at the moment meant producers were looking at shifts in the traditional markets they supply.
"There has been significant rain in a lot of places but we haven't made any extra cows so where people can't get black steers for feedlots anymore they are looking further afield, not just geographically," he said.
"Bos indicus cattle purchased at reasonable rates are presenting some of the best trading margin opportunities at the moment.
"A brahman heifer joined to a good black bull will produce progeny that will be in strong demand in southern Queensland.
"Producers have to seize whatever opportunities they can to turn grass into beef right now."
NSW consultant Alastair Rayner, RaynerAg, said the trend was not surprising and certainly presented good potential but it was essential those going north on buying expeditions had a plan.
Astute graziers were now focused on putting kilograms of beef on and were looking for good value options in a demanding market place, he said.
It's not unusual to see straight Brahmans in the New England.
Tenterfield down through the Northern Rivers has always had a strong Indicus influence given the strength of F1 programs in the region.
But property purchases by Queenslanders has also seen greater Indicus influence down to Glen Innes and west in recent years.
Mr Rayner said Bos Indicus content cattle that could be put into a system competitively, grown fast and moved on quickly, presented a profitable option.
Index points lost to hump height in Meat Standards Australia grading would likely be picked up in quicker growth via hybrid vigour, he said.
Traders might also look outside their traditional selling markets - store cattle markets or back to Queensland processors who have Bos Indicus programs, for example.
There was, however, a fair bit of adjustment necessary, particularly for little Brahman cattle with slick coats and not much fat coming into colder regions where unpredictable snow events could occur.
Mr Rayner's advice: sheltered paddocks, access to quality hay and introduce it early rather than wait for the cold snap and be aware of differing handling requirements.
"Some of these cattle may not have been handled by people on foot or in utes. Also Bos Indicus cattle respond differently - they don't need the degree of pressure in handling as cattle coming out of southern programs.
"Ensure your yards are good enough to allow them to move with space until they become accustomed to a more intense level of management."
The story More Brahmans move south as restockers seize trade options first appeared on Farm Online.