Peter and Desieree Hindmarsh, Milton Station, Boynedale, near Gladstone, have built up an impressive reputation for the quiet Droughtmaster weaner steers they offer at the Gracemere Saleyards (CQLX).
The country at the 2297ha Milton Station, situated near Boynedale, which Peter said they will have owned for eight years in March, has the Boyne River running through it which provides them with close to 1500ha of alluvial river flats running back into steeper breeder country.
In April last year, they also leased 2832ha of Gladstone Area Water Board country for a four year period.
Peter said they are currently running 1260 breeders across both properties, however with the lease country added to the equation they will be trying to work their numbers closer to 1600 head.
“At Milton Station, we also have close to 80ha of cultivation (32ha irrigated) on which we grow hay for the weaners and cereal crops commercially as a secondary source of income,” he said.
Peter said while their primary breeding focus is on producing a pure Droughtmaster article, when they purchased the property, close to 250 grey Brahman breeders were included in the sale which have been kept on to be crossbred with their Droughtmaster bulls.
“We decided to chiefly use Droughtmasters in our operation for their temperament and fertility.
“Another big advantage of using the breed here is that we don’t have to dip them for ticks, we just spray them for Buffalo Fly, whereas if we’d used European cattle, they would have been eaten to bits.”
Peter said their bulls are joined with the maiden heifers in August, while the other breeders are put in the paddock in October, with the bulls taken out just before the end of February.
“For the first three years we got a calving rate of around 65 per cent, which we were told was a good figure for the region, but it wasn’t good enough for us.
“We began preg testing at weaning time, with breeders that are in-calf getting a shot of Pestigard.
“This practice has really bolstered our calving rates, last year we got a 94pc rate for our top paddock and 87pc for our worst.”
He said their weaner steers are sold through the Gracemere Saleyards in the second week of June at 240kg to 250kg.
“We’ve developed a good reputation for the weaner steers we offer at the saleyards, with buyers often commenting on their ideal temperament.
“We spend a lot of time with them in the yard and it shows at the sale where we’ve topped the proceedings on a number of occasions, last year we received $4.16/kg and in 2017 we were really spoiled and got $4.36/kg.”
He said their cull cows are sold to the meatworks, usually JBS Rockhampton, at close to 600kg liveweight, with the culls determined by age and if they haven’t produced a calf in the last year.
Peter said at present they’re happy with how their breeding program is running.
“Unless we start constantly producing twins I don’t think we can do much better than what we’re currently doing,” he said with a laugh.
Peter and Desieree ventured to Gracemere for the Droughtmaster National Bull Sale for the first time last year where they purchased 14 bulls to diversify the bloodlines within their operation.
“Due to the dry conditions at the time the prices were back a bit from where they probably should have been so we took advantage of that and purchased a few more bulls than we were initially looking at.
“We normally buy bulls from the Hicks family’s Billabong Stud at Moura, as we’ve had great success with them within our operation.
“We like them for their temperament and their higher Bos Indicus content.”
Peter said when they’re not working their cattle, they enjoy playing lawn bowls, and travelling.
“We have a caravan so when we get to our slow period between June and August we like to get away and explore.”