Holliss' single herd approach ensures 'no passengers'

23rd Jul 2017

Submitted by QCL (20/7/17)

THE Holliss family’s “no passengers” approach to cattle breeding lies at the heart of its highly efficient, productive Hereford operation.

Tony and Barbara Holliss and their sons Ace and Cameron operate Lotus Herefords, which is located on Old Farm about 40km south east of Glen Innes, NSW. 

The picturesque 2000 hectare eastern fall property joins both the spectacular Guy Fawkes and Warra national parks. Water from the Sara River which runs across Old Farm ultimately flows into the mighty Clarence. 

Old Farm runs about 350 breeders that calve out in July/August, enabling the growing calves to take advantage of fresh spring pastures on the loamy granite soils through to some traprock country on the hills. 

The Holliss’ also trade cattle on a opportunity basis depending on the season.

“The key elements are fertility, temperament and milking ability backed by a sound constitution,” Tony Holliss said. “We’re in the business of efficient beef production and that is what our Hereford breeding is based on, regardless if they are stud or commercial cattle.” 

In fact, both the commercial and stud cattle are run as a single herd. 

“There is no special treatment just because an animal is out of the stud,” Tony said. “The same pressure is also applied to the commercial cattle to ensure we getting the best possible performance across the herd.”

The Holliss family is currently preparing for the annual on-property Lotus Herefords bull sale at Old Farm on Thursday, July 27. A total of 42 bulls have been selected for the sale.

A critical ingredient in the diet is the inclusion of the essential mineral selenium in the form of Alltech’s Sel-plex, an organic trace element produced from yeast. The Sel-Plex is included in Riverinasupplementary pellets to ensure reproductive performance. 

The story of Lotus Herefords goes back to 1919 when Albert Holliss invested on the eastern fall. Once part of the much larger Mitchell Station, the original property employed Chinese gardeners grow vegetables on an area of loamy black soil loam from where name Old Farm originated.  

However, it wasn’t until immediately after World War II that Hereford cattle were introduced to the expanding property. 

Impressed with performance of whiteface cattle, Albert and his wife Clara began investing in top sires and quality females from selected herds to breed a well-above-average performing herd. 

There is no special treatment just because an animal is out of the stud.- Tony Holliss

In 1982 the highly fertile commercial herd that had long enjoyed a well earned reputation for its fertility, milking ability and overall performance was classified as a pure bred herd by the Australian Hereford Society. 

That led to current custodian Tony Holliss with his parents Oliver and Colleen registering the Lotus stud based on females from the Bolong, Ironbark and Lea Gollan and sires from Tummel and Bolong. More females were then bought from Hillcrest, Tummel, Strathleigh, Gorian, Courallie, Cootharaba, Valley and Willgoose. 

The Lotus prefix came from the pasture species established on the wet areas of Old Farm that long proved a very handy feed reserve in dry times.