Tim and Anne Agar from Karoola Grazing situated 70km south of Charleville, have been happy with their decision to use the Droughtmaster breed in the cattle arm of their operations which also includes Merino sheep breeding.
In 1986, the pair took over the business from Anne’s parents, which includes the 16,500 acre Karoola situated on the western bank of the Warrego River, and the nearby 24,000 acre Mulga block, Merigol.
In kinder climatic conditions, the Agar’s run 6000 sheep and close to 400 Droughtmaster breeders, cows and replacements.
Tim said they’ve had five consecutive dry summers which forced them to drastically reduce their numbers and they’re now at a point were they’re waiting “for the season to come good”.
He said they don’t use a controlled mating program as the current conditions make it too difficult.
“We find it’s good to have a portion of emptys running as we can put them on harder rations and focus on looking after the maiden heifers and calves,” he said.
When conditions are better, the cattle are bred on Karoola and fattened on 2500 acres of improved buffel at Merigol, which is where they also fatten the Merino’s.
Before Tim and Anne took over at Karoola, the family were breeding Shorthorns, but they decided they needed to change to a hardier breed and chose the Droughtmaster.
“In addition to their toughness, they’re pretty fertile, calve at a good rate, and have a lovely temperament.”
Tim said they’re constantly trying to improve the herd by purchasing high quality stud bulls.
“We only buy bulls with good frame, top and underline, a nice tidy sheath and wide hips, basically a good all over quality beast.”
Fitting this description is Gen Y Jackaroo which the Agar’s purchased from Emma Warne, Gen Y Droughtmasters, at the 2016 Tropical Breeds Sale.
“Jackaroo is battling on well through the dry, he’s currently in with the cows and is doing a good job.”
He said they mainly do their bull buying at the Rockhampton and Roma sales, where they’ve purchased from a number of studs though the years.
“We like to buy bulls at around 26-28 months-old with a bit of growth on them already where possible, because if they’re too young they tend to struggle in the dry when we get them home.
“Our daughter Roslyn is our right-hand man at the sales, she knows what’s what, and helps us immensely. with our selection process.
“We go to the sales together and whatever catches our eye gets a tick. We have to tick a lot of bulls because somebody always seems to have more money,” he said with a laugh.