Warwick Cooper said he’ll definitely be returning to the Australian Topstock Barcaldine Bull Sale this year after coming home with half a dozen bulls last year which have performed admirably in the paddock on their 4770ha property, Donnabar, 17km south of Wallumbilla.
The country on Donnabar is predominantly comprised of scrub soils with box creek flats which flow through undulating land peppered with Brigalow, Belah, Wilga timbers, among others, interspersed with Buffel grass pastures, and some stony ridges and soft pine country.
While the herd there has always been primarily Hereford-based, a decade ago Warwick began using Angus bulls over Hereford and Angus females.
Warwick said they’re running a self-replacing herd with 800 cows and 120 replacements each year
“We’re happy with the Angus-cross, having those genetics in the herd makes it easier on the calves at branding as we don’t have to dehorn,” Warwick said.
He said the bulls are put in the paddock with the heifers on September 1 each year, and the other breeders are added on October 1.
“We bring them out in March, with the progeny produced then fed up to 420kg to 520kg for the steers and 360kg to 450kg for the heifers.
“We’re lucky in that we’re blessed with a lot of feedlots being situated around where we live, which makes the market competitive.”
He said they’re currently selling to the Roma Feedlot and Spelling Yards.
“We sold steers there last week at 470kg for $2.90, and heifers at 380kg for $2.70.”
Warwick said their operation is running smoothly, though last year in mid-September the heifers were given “the needle” to tighten up their calving pattern.
“If all goes well they should all be calving in a four week span, whereas it’s usually around three months.”
Warwick said he attended the Barcaldine sale “on a whim” last year, after seeing his neighbours had purchased some good value for money bulls at the 2017 sale.
“We came home with two bulls from The Glen, and four Pathfinder bulls. All of these bulls are of great quality, especially for the price we paid. I’ll definitely be heading back to the sale this year.
“We’ve had no breakdowns with them yet, which is always a good sign, and we’re expecting the first progeny from them to be on the ground later this year.”
Warwick said he’d be remiss if he didn’t mention his children Lachlan and Madeleine, who he said love helping out Sophie and himself with the workload on-property when they’re not at Churchie and Wallumbilla State School respectively.
“Madeleine is my official NLIS loader when we’re tagging, the only thing is that she always expects to be paid.” he said with a laugh. Sophie