For more than 20 years the Walker and Wharley families, Reklaw Park, have enjoyed sustained success using the Droughtmaster breed.
Allison and Peter Wharley along with Allison’s mother Fay Walker, produce and fatten pure and crossbred Droughtmaster progeny from their 1100-strong breeding herd on their 38,000-acre property situated between Clermont and The Gemfields.
“We’ve used Droughtmaster and Brahman females as our breeder base for nearly two decades, and in that time we’ve experimented with putting Brahman bulls over Droughtie females and vice versa,” Peter said.
“We pretty much run a pure Droughtmaster herd now, and we run Droughtie bulls over anything with Brahman in them, to get the fertility and temperament right in the calves,” he said.
“We also put a few Euro breed bulls over our Droughtie breeders which gives us another good cross, and creates more diversity in our herd.”
Progeny from the breeding program are usually kept at Reklaw Park where they’re fattened and sold on at 24-30 months-old to JBS at Dinmore, though Peter said depending on what market is looking like, they’ll also sell into Mackay and Townsville.
He said while operations at Reklaw Park are pretty much where the family want them to be, they’re continuously finding ways to improve the quality of the cattle they produce.
“Recently we’ve been fencing off some of our paddocks and doing rotational grazing work. The country around here is all Speargrass so it benefits from a bit of rest.”
Peter said the family is looking forward to attending the upcoming Highlands Droughtmaster Bull Sale at Clermont, which they’ve been attending since the sale began.
“We’ve bought bulls from just about every vendor there and we particularly like the drafts offered by the Donaldson’s at Medway or the Barton family from Huntley.
“It’s a handy sale for us as most of the cattle are bred near Clermont so we know the bulls we purchase will be able to handle the conditions on-property well.
“We also find that the bulls aren’t pumped up like we sometimes see at other sales, so they’re ready to come home and go straight to work.
“We put the bulls we buy there in with our maiden heifers first, to see how they perform, then they go into the main herd.”
Success at Reklaw Park isn’t limited to the selling side of the business either, as the family has been consistent fixtures in the winners circle at the annual Clermont Beef Expo, where last year they won the Sally Taylor Memorial Trophy for Supreme Champion Beast with one of their Droughtmaster x Brahman steers.