Julia Creek droving gamble pays off

Julia Creek cattleman takes advantage of market lift with droving

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Drover Billy Prow and his men, Blake Arnold and Tobin Aspinall, getting ready to bed the mob down for the night on the stock route north of Blackall in June. Picture - Sally Gall.

Drover Billy Prow and his men, Blake Arnold and Tobin Aspinall, getting ready to bed the mob down for the night on the stock route north of Blackall in June. Picture - Sally Gall.

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It was a gamble three-and-a-half months ago to put a little over 2000 young cattle on the road and hope to take advantage of a market rise, but it's one that has paid off for Julia Creek's David and Jennifer Heslin.

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It was a gamble three-and-a-half months ago to put a little over 2000 young cattle on the road and hope to take advantage of a market rise, but it's one that has paid off for Julia Creek's David and Jennifer Heslin.

Since they unloaded the mob of mixed sex composite cattle at Barcaldine in early June and put them in charge of drover Billy Prow, the market has risen in the vicinity of 50 to 70 cents a kilogram.

The mob was split into heifers and steers once they reached Roma at the beginning of September and sold a week apart.

The heifer portion, approximately 1100 head, averaged 386 cents per kilogram or $1047 per head, and a week later the steers achieved an average of 404c/kg, or $1254/hd.

Heifers with baby calves made $1800, selling to restockers in NSW.

"That's what I was working on, a calculated gamble," Mr Heslin said. "It rained down south in winter and the market lifted."

Mr Heslin said droving had been a better choice than trucking the cattle to agistment for three months, given that it costs $5/hd/week for droving and he was quoted agistment prices of between $6 and $10/hd/wk.

"I tried to agist the cattle in NSW but they wanted $10," he said. "We would have had trucking costs on top of that."

Back at Julia Creek, the Heslins recently sold 11-12yo PTIC Brahman-type cows on AuctionsPlus for $1400/hd to a restocker at Warren in NSW.

He said his northern country had dried right off.

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