Mixed farming and commercial cattle operators Bruce and Andy Cook have been using Droughtmaster with solid success for close to 10 years to enhance their breeding program.
Working side by side with Bruce’s parents Bernard and Marie Cook, the family own three properties that they run together as one business.
The home property Coovin, situated 60km north of Clermont, was drawn in the Kilcummin Land Ballot in 1957 by Bruce’s grandfather Tom Cook. Mixed farming and cattle operations are carried out there, and also at the family’s nearby property Greenhills.
Bruce said they dry land farm approximately 3000 combined hectares on Coovin and Greenhills where they produce sorghum, chickpea, and wheat which they then deliver to the Mt McLaren grain depot.
“We also produce our own grain and hay that we use in our feedlot operation,” he said.
Dooyne, located 250km north west of Clermont, is the Cook family’s primary breeding property. Bounded by Moray Downs on one side, the 80,000 acre property supports up to 2000 breeders.
“Our core breeding herd is Santa Gertrudis, and we purchase Santa Gertrudis, Angus and Droughtmaster bulls to put over the females. Our replacement heifers are mainly Santa Gertrudis and Droughtmaster.
“By using a diverse mix of breeds in our operation, we have the ability to meet a variety of markets with our cattle, we on sell our store lines at Clermont and Emerald, and our fat cattle generally go to the processors at Teys in Rocky and JBS Dinmore.”
Bruce said by introducing Droughtmasters into the breeding herd over the last decade, it has enabled them to produce cattle that stand up well at store sales while also performing well on feed.
“We are also extremely lucky to have bull breeders in close proximity to where we live who’re producing high-quality bulls that we are able to access easily during the annual Highlands Droughtmaster Bull Sale.
He said that by buying bulls that are bred locally and are used to the climatic conditions in the Clermont region it provides the family peace of mind knowing that they’ll be ready to get to work as soon as their feet hit the ground, once the family brings them home.
“At last year’s Highlands sale we purchased bulls from the Bartons at Huntley Droughtmasters and the Perry family, from Strathfield Droughtmasters, which have been performing very well for us in the paddock.
“We’re looking forward to attending the sale again this year, to see if we can find a couple more handy bulls to further strengthen and diversify the genetics in our herd.”