The Droughtmaster continues to tick all the right boxes for the Davies family who’ve been using the breed successfully in their commercial cattle operation on The Nobbies, 100km north of Cloncurry, for more than 25 years.
Peter and Coral Davies manage the 16,000ha property themselves, with their daughter Krystle and her partner Dan happy to lend a hand when required.
The Davies purchased the property from Coral’s father, Lionel Hudson, in July 2013, but have been living and working there since 1990.
Peter said they’re lucky to have a good mix of country, which varies between Mitchell and Flinders downs leading into river flats grassed with buffel and spinifex silverbox country “which comes in handy when we have a dry spell”.
The family runs a pure Droughtmaster herd consisting of close to 1000 breeders and their replacements along with 47 bulls.
Peter said they’ve been using Droughtmasters for more than 25 years at The Nobbies, and praised the breed for the myriad benefits they provide.
“They’re quiet, easy to handle cattle, and they do well in our country,” he said.
As their main income comes from the sale of their weaners the Davies are working towards presenting them with as much weight as possible, while producing the most even line they can.
“Each year our heifers improve in quality so over the years we have seen a marked improvement in the quality and temperament of our livestock.
“We’re also striving to create a 100 per cent poll herd.”
He said they usually sell the weaners straight off their mothers in July.
“We’ve found a good market outlet for our weaners for which we have three buyers who’re consistently keen to acquire our stock, and our fat and aged cows sell well at the meatworks.”
He said off a very late and short wet season this year their weaner steers averaged 260kg and their sale heifers averaged 215kg.
“The weaners have gone south to backgrounding properties, and the heifers we sold this year are being used for breeding purposes.”
Peter said they also received positive feedback for the pen of export cows entered in the Cloncurry Show which weighed 780kg, 760kg and 730kg liveweight.
“We’ve also been keeping a few of bull calves which we grow out and sell to a couple of local buyers.”
He said they received exceptional prices for the cattle between 2016 and 2017, although a marked decrease has occurred this year.
“Though the drop was to be expected with the continuing dry in most areas.”
Peter said they’re still “very pleased” with the $2.90/kg for steers and $2.50/kg for the heifers they’re receiving at Cloncurry.
In their ongoing effort to improve the quality of the cattle they produce, the Davies have been attending the Droughtmaster National Sale since 2003.
“There is such a large number of studs represented there from which we can select from a vast and varied pool of genetics, we definitely haven’t been disappointed by any of our purchases to date.”
Peter said the bulls they’ve purchased from the Kinbacher family, Garthowen, have always done well for them, and in 2012 they purchased an Oasis from the Geddes family bull that stood out.
“We have a homebred bull by the Oasis sire and he’s grown into a fine specimen.”
He said at the sale they look for bulls with good bone structure so their weaners have a good frame to put weight on.
“We also like bulls with hooded eyes to handle the buffalo fly etc, temperament for ease of handling and to pass onto their progeny, 200day EBV so the weaners can be as heavy as possible around that time, colour because we like an even colour range in the sale weaners, and the poll gene for appearance and ease of handling.”