Rockley ready for long-awaited return

Beef Central, 27/01/2016
Ashley Kirk

Ashley Kirk

If the Kirk family’s Rockley Red Brahman Stud was a sporting team, its journey over the past three years would be described as one of the great all-time comebacks.

As has been widely documented in the rural media, the family’s highly regarded 61-year-old stud was almost crippled by an industry imposed quarantine and eradication policy after three Rockley cows tested positive to Bovine Johne’s Disease in November 2012.

The justification of the severe eradication policy for a disease many experts have argued is of little consequence to northern cattle production enterprises sparked an industry backlash which prompted a national policy review and what now appears to be a likely change in direction for the way BJD detections are managed in future.

Three years on, the Kirks say they are still recovering from the crippling financial and emotional impact, but are gratified to say their stud is now back and ready to return to the selling ring.

The Rockley Brahman Stud will officially return to the market at the Big Country Brahman Sale at Charters Towers on February 1 and 2 next week.

Lot 70 Rockley Roundstone

Lot 70 Rockley Roundstone

They will present three bulls at the sale.

It may be a far cry from past sales when Rockley offered dozens of bulls, but next week’s sale will represent a significant milestone for father and son team Chris and Ashley Kirk.

“To say we’re excited is an understatement,” Ashley Kirk said.

“It’s been a long time coming.

“We’ve dealt with a lot of important issues, and we’ve had to overcome huge challenges, but if there’s a silver lining to be found it’s what we’ve learned from the experience.

“This includes quality processes we’ve put in place that have cemented our absolute commitment to breeding truly elite Red Brahmans.”

The Kirks have put this hard-won knowledge into action as evidenced by their well-documented processes that include Rockley’s advanced IVF/genetics breeding processes; their Elite Weaner Program, low stress handling techniques and science-led nutrition.

They have also continued to be active in supporting the cattle industry in general, by continuing to work closely with officials to create draft guidelines and policy that would view BJD in Australia as a biosecurity issue that can be effectively managed on-farm.

For those attending the Big Country Brahman Sale and interested in Rockley stud bulls look for Lot 69 – Rockley Diplothia, Lot 70 – Rockley Roundstone and Lot 7 1–  Rockley Red Gum.



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  1. Wallace Gunthorpe, 27/01/2016

    Good on you Ashley,it has been a long hard road !
    Shame on AgForce for bringing quarantine to over 200 families without adequate compensation in place.
    We have not heard much lately from Howard Smith former AgForce Cattle President,Anna Campbell former AgForce cattle policy advisor and Charles Burke AgForce CEO !
    All three of these people insisted on their quarantine policy without adequate compensation and now all have egg on their faces knowing that the state and national BJD policies are changing in line with the BJD Action Coalition’s policy !
    AgForce should not rest until they have a bio security fund established with a compensation package for affected producers.
    This is the least they can do seeing they caused the unnecessary damage to the quarantined properties.
    AgForce failed the last test, let’s see if they can pass this one ? Don’t bet your last dollar on it !

    Wallace Gunthorpe
    BJD Action Coalition

  2. John Gunthorpe, 27/01/2016

    Congratulations to Ash and Chris and their families for emerging from the darkest period of the beef industry’s history. Their perseverance and honesty through this whole sorry episode is an example for us all.

    Shame on AgForce for recommending to the Queensland Government the eradication policy without understanding the nature of the disease. Shame on Cattle Council for supporting AgForce without understanding the nature of the disease.

    Financial and personal stresses borne by this family and many others need compensation. It was done for the good of the industry and we now know how fallacious that statement was. Industry now needs to pay the Kirks and others so they are at least not out of pocket. No one can appease the personal suffering caused by the visit from the QDAFF officer carrying the quarantine notice. However we can repay their losses and the beef industry needs to do this. AgForce should amend their earlier mistakes and now go to government recommending the establishment of the Biosecurity Fund to pay compensation to those quarantined for “suspect” BJD.

    Ash and Chris have bred first class Brahman bulls for sale in Charters Towers next week at the Big Country Brahman Sale and we would encourage as many as possible to be there to bid on these three bulls recording your support for the tenacity and courage of this Central Queensland cattle family. Whatever you pay you will not be disappointed and you will be playing your part in ensuring the future of the Red Brahman genetic improvement with the return of the Kirk Family and Rockley Red Brahman Stud.

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