The rain is ‘a godsend really!’

Rain relief for Kumbia cattle producer


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The hope of Spring rainfall has eventuated for Kumbia cattle producers Ian and Megan Barbour.

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The hope of Spring rainfall has eventuated for Kumbia cattle producers Ian and Megan Barbour.

After more than 6 months of very dry weather conditions the 40 millimetres of rain received on Monday was happily welcomed across their property called Holly Park in the South Burnett area.

Ian and Megan Barbour, Holly Park, Kumbia are enjoying their wet cattle yards after a long year of drought conditions across their property in the South Burnett.

Ian and Megan Barbour, Holly Park, Kumbia are enjoying their wet cattle yards after a long year of drought conditions across their property in the South Burnett.

“It’s a godsend really!” Mr Barbour said.

“We only really had a one-off rain event earlier in the year with no other good summer rainfall.”  

Their property had received no rain since the wet weather from Ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie in March, which enabled an oats crop to be planted.

“That rain and crop helped us to hold on a bit longer and if we hadn't got that wet weather it would have been dire straits for us,” Mr Barbour said.

“But receiving the single rain event meant we only got to feed the oats crop off once due to no follow-up rain at all.”

Mr Barbour added the overall weather conditions had been very dry for at least the past 12 months.

The family have lived at their Holly Park property near Kumbia for 20 years and Mr Barbour noted they generally get rain in September.

“The rainfall is a little late but it’s a perfect start to Spring given how dry the weather has been,” he said.

“Some follow-up rain could turn things around and really improve the season.”

Mr Barbour added the lack of last year’s summer rainfall, except the one-off wet weather from the cyclone, meant his pasture had not recovered during the warmer growing season.

“The last few months we’ve had to increase the quality of our hay we are feeding in our ratio mix due to the fact no grass is left for cattle to forage on,” he said.

Due to the dry weather conditions the Barbour family's breeding herd recorded an 83 per cent calving rate, but the installation of a fodder factory a year ago and a new feeding regime, to help drought proof the property, has resulted in cows cycling well this Spring.

“In a perfect world we would order an inch of rain each week for the next couple of weeks with a few heavier falls to fill some dams and creeks on our property,” Mr Barbour said.

This year they are only running around 140 cows due to the dry but generally have around 180 head of breeders.

The rainfall is a little late but it’s a perfect start to Spring given how dry the weather has been. - Ian Barbour, Holly Park, Kumbia

“Fully utilising the fodder factory and a good season I believe we could carry up to 200 head of breeders,” he said.

They generally try of grow the cow’s prodigy out to feeder weight after weaning to between 320 to 400 kilograms and currently market majority of their cattle through Dalby Saleyards.

“This year we kept our feeder cattle a little bit longer because the prices had dropped slightly at the time we normally sell plus we were lucky enough to get a good strike of oats so we could hold onto the young cattle for longer,” Mr Barbour said.

Another recent development in the Barbour’s cattle operation has been a focus on moving the breeder herd towards Angus cattle.

“We are working our herd towards all Angus cows due to the premium price we’ve achieve for our type of cattle operation,” he said.

The Barbour family are also focused on purchasing higher quality bulls to improve the performance of their cattle herd.

“I’m concentrating on tracking our cattle from birth through to processing for more understanding of our cattle herd and where it needs to go to improve.”

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