Handleys' crossbred success

Droughtmaster prominent in Handleys' cross

Local Business Feature
Cross benefits: The Handleys' current crop of first calf Droughtmaster-cross heifers enjoying some tucker.

Cross benefits: The Handleys' current crop of first calf Droughtmaster-cross heifers enjoying some tucker.

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While the Handley family have switched tack from targeting the organic market to producing for the feedlots in the past 12 months, the Droughtmaster remains prominent in the crossbred article they produce.

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While the Handley family have switched tack from targeting the organic market to producing for the feedlots in the past 12 months, the Droughtmaster remains prominent in the crossbred article they produce.

Rod and Libby Handley, and their children George, Charlie and Anne, run their cattle and Aussie White x Dorper sheep programs from Eddington, Mungallala, nearby Mount Elliott, and Warrawee, Chinchilla.

"We background and fatten on Eddington, Mount Elliott is our main breeding block, and we bought Warrawee four years ago to expand our fattening country," Mr Handley said.

Their country is looking much better now than in 2019 due to the good rain they've had so far this year.

"We're still running our normal lick program, but we're no longer feeding hay, pellets or meal now. The country has come back magnificently and we still have plenty of dry buffel left."

In their program, the Handleys put Droughtmaster bulls, and smaller numbers of Red Angus and Charolais bulls over Droughtmaster x Charolais x Red Angus females.

"The Droughtmaster appeals to us as the cross we produce through them is a quiet, flat back with hybrid vigour, rapid growth rates and good bone and frame.

"We get the bone and frame from the Charolais, the Red Angus keeps them flat and gives us growth and a little bit of hair, while the Droughtmaster also helps with the flat back and provides the toughness required for our forest country."

Target market: The Handleys now sell feeder steers and cull cows through the Roma and Dalby Saleyards, at 380-400kg and as young as possible.

Target market: The Handleys now sell feeder steers and cull cows through the Roma and Dalby Saleyards, at 380-400kg and as young as possible.

The family join the bulls to the breeders on December 1 for up to six months.

"We cull all empties, though we keep on heifers that are a bit late calving, We also cull for temperament. We average close to 85 per cent for conception, though that is down slightly after the drought last year."

The Handleys now sell feeder steers and cull cows through the Roma and Dalby Saleyards, at 380-400kg and as young as possible.

"We've been getting good prices lately. We recently sold cull cows for 275c/kg and the lighter end of our no-8 steers through Dalby three months ago for 370c on average."

To source some of their bulls the Handleys have been purchasing from the Droughtmaster National Sale since 2003.

"The quality of the bulls available there is great and there are plenty to choose from. We just had the eight bulls we purchased from the 2019 sale tested and they all came out with flying colours.

"We look to buy bulls with good frame, bone structure, and which are tidy underneath. More recently we've been buying looser skinned bulls. The bulls we buy also have to be polled."

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