This year marks 30 years since Rosedale Charolais held its first on-property bull sale and the Millner family's pioneering approach to breeding and marketing has ensured their cattle are a perfect fit for commercial producers.
Spanning three properties at Blayney, Geurie and Coonamble in northern NSW, totalling 8000 hectares, the family runs Australia's largest polled Charolais herd, alongside an extensive commercial crossbreeding enterprise.
More recently, they have established their own paddock-to-plate branded beef product, Rosedale Ruby, which is garnering a loyal following of customers in the overseas supermarket and restaurant trade.
Founded in 1970, Rosedale currently comprises 300 Charolais breeders, which are run at Blayney, and is the longest running stud in NSW today.
The 1200-head commercial herd, which is predominantly Angus and Shorthorn cows, is split between the family's country at Geurie and Coonamble.
According to James Millner, who oversees the stud operations, while his brother Robert manages the commercial herd, Rosedale's breeding efforts have focused on producing a modern-day Australian type of Charolais.
"Our breeding objectives have evolved to meet a modern market, all our cattle are polled and a much earlier maturing and softer animal than what they originally were," he said.
"We have also been careful to select for growth and quality carcase traits, including improved fat cover and marbling, while calving ease is also important."
The breeding program is split with 80 per cent of the cows calving in the spring while the remaining 20pc calve in autumn. Artificial insemination is also carried out using a mix of home-bred sires as well as sourcing elite genetics from other studs in Australia, New Zealand and the United States.
The Rosedale herd was an early adopter of Breedplan performance recording and Mr Millner uses Estimated Breeding Values to help illustrate the type of bulls they aim to produce.
"Genetic gain in growth rates has always been a priority for us so we keep an eye on 400-day growth figures and aim to maintain sensible birth weights for ease of calving," he said.
During the past five years, they have introduced ultrasound scanning of stud bulls and heifers, collecting a range of data on carcase traits and performance including liveweight, rib and rump fat, intramuscular fat and eye muscle area.
This year, the 30th annual Rosedale on-property bull sale will be held on Friday, May 24, with 70 polled Charolais sires catalogued.
Due to increased market demand, the Millner family have also introduced composite bulls to lift the hybrid vigour and growth rates of their clients' commercial herds. About 30 Charolais/Angus-cross and Charolais/Shorthorn-cross composite bulls will be available on sale day, all with performance scanning information.
Years of careful selection have also paid dividends with the Rosedale brand continuing to dominate the national carcase competition and feedlot trial circuit.
Recent results have included 2018 Riverine Classic champion at the NSW Beef Spectacular Feedlot Trial, 2017 grand champion team at the Australian National Field Days Trial, while a Rosedale-bred Charolais steer won the Silver Medal in the carcase section of the 2018 Sydney Royal Easter Show, NSW.
"Supporting carcase competitions and feedlot trials is a great way of benchmarking our commercial operation and our Rosedale bloodlines against other leading producers."
Complementing their cattle business has been the exciting addition of the Rosedale Ruby branded beef product, established by Mr Millner and his Hong Kong-based cousin Sam McNiven.
Now being exported to a range of countries including China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan as well as Europe, the Rosedale Ruby beef brand is promoted as a quality, hormone growth promotant free, grain-fed product.
Cattle fed and processed under the brand are sourced from the Rosedale commercial herd as well as Charolais-cross cattle purchased through the Rosedale Ruby Supply Chain which the Millner family launched last year as an exclusive for their clients.
"This provides our clients with an opportunity for greater returns and a secure market, as well as establishing a feedback loop between us and selected producers.
"In the past year, more than 2000 head of cattle from our bull clients have gone into our beef supply chain."
Both steers and heifers enter the family-owned feedlot at Moree, NSW, at between 400-500 kilograms liveweight and are fed for up to 120 days, targeting a carcase weight of 300-350kg. The cattle are processed at the Northern Co-operative Meat Company, Casino, NSW, and are all Meat Standards Australia graded.
"Rosedale Ruby branded beef is an exciting venture which has exceeded all our expectations.
"At the start we were processing 50 animals per month and we have now increased this to 600-800 head each month.
"There is a big place for niche beef brands in the market and the story is very important to the end consumer, they want to know where the cattle come from and how they are raised."