FRASER Coast weaner producer Glen Titmarsh says he has largely eliminated the need for mineral supplements on his Maryborough property Tandora after adopting a comprehensive fertiliser program on his pangola grass based pastures.
Mr Titmarsh said while the cattle would consume liquid feeds and blocks during an extended dry period or other protein droughts, the moment green grass appeared the supplements were ignored.
“It’s like flicking a switch,” he said.
“Somehow the cattle just know that the growing grass has what they need even if they were consuming supplements the day before.
“We’re pretty fortunate here is terms of rainfall.
“Wet conditions are far more of an issue to us than dry weather.”
In fact, a comprehensive drainage system is in place on Tandora to prevent waterlogging across the relatively low lying paddocks.
This includes drainage channels and ongoing work to fill and level any low spots.
The 4400 hectare (11,000 acre) wallum country property is fertilised with superphosphate and potash to maximise pasture growth.
The result is Tandora, which runs alongside the Mary River and lies directly across from Fraser Island, supports about 1000 breeders.
“Pangola with some seteria, Rhodes grass and a legume mix just seems to be right pasture for this otherwise challenging coastal country,” Mr Titmarsh said.
“It grows right down to the salt so it has made this wallum country pretty productive.
“About the only thing it doesn’t handle is frost.”
The 4400 hectare (11,000 acre) wallum country property runs about 1000 breeders.
Every year all of the weaners – including the heifers – are sold off Tandora.
“The preference is to buy in replacement females rather than breeding our own,” Mr Titmarsh said.
“We look for Brahmans but also take some Charbrays and Droughtmasters and join them to mainly Charolais and Limousin bulls.”
This year the Titmarshs will be offering about 800 steers and heifers at Shepherdson and Boyd’s annual weaner sale at Toogoolawah on May 11.
Mr Titmarsh said he placed significant selection pressure on the fertility of the breeding herd.
“If they don’t have a calf they are sold or fattened and then sold,” he said.
“Our target is to achieve a 95 per cent or better weaning rate, so the females have to be productive.”
Tandora was taken up by the Titmarsh family 111 years ago.
“There’s no secret behind it,” Mr Titmarsh said.
“They came here because it was cheap country. There’s no doubt it was extremely difficult to make a go of it with all this wallum scrub.”
After more than a centruy of development, the property now boasts broad open paddocks and highly productive pasture.