A SOUND knowledge of his land's stocking rate has helped one Gympie-district producer get the most out of his cattle during a wetter than average season.
Danny Hoogstraten, along with his wife Margaret, have maintained a focus on quality over quantity when it comes to the 150 crossbred breeders they run on the family's three Goomeri properties; Eddington, Eddington West and Eddington South.
That focus has paid dividends as several neighbouring creeks caused flooding across the property but with limited impact on cattle progress.
"We first arrived in the district in the mid 1990s' and it is easily the wettest year we've had during our time here," Mr Hoogstraten told the Queensland Country Life.
"A neighbour of ours who has lived here all of his life told me it has been about 42 years since it has been this wet.
"A lot of people have said to me that I could easily run another 100 to 200 head of cattle across the three properties, but I'm comfortable with the stocking rate I have because it allows the land a chance to recover, especially in unpredictable seasons like this one."
As well as taking a "less is sometimes more" approach, the Hoogstraten family also implements rotational grazing into its management strategy.
"All told, we have about 1200 acres (485 hectares) across the three properties and the cattle are regularly rotated between all three," Mr Hoogstraten said.
"The big benefit of rotational grazing is ensuring our pastures have a chance to recover and the cattle get used to it very quickly.
"It's a difficult balance though, because you want the cattle to be easily moveable but you don't want them to become too dependent on the sound of a vehicle feeding out hay or things like that."
The victory came after they claimed second place at last year's weaner sale.
"It was really pleasing to go one better this year, especially given it has been so wet," Mr Hoogstraten said.
"We would have liked to wean them a little bit earlier than we eventually did, but with the way the season has been going it was what we had to do.
"From that perspective, it was even more pleasing that we were able to take out the champion pen with some heifers."
As well as supporting the Coolabunia sale, the Hoogstratens also aim to sell cattle at Murgon as well as direct to JBS at Dinmore.
"We do have a turnover of anywhere from 10 to 20 per cent with our herd per year," Mr Hoogstraten said.
"Selection is so crucial, particularly when you do have a smaller herd than most.
"Basically, our rule is that if you don't calf you're out."
On top of focusing on pasture health, the family has also had a keen eye on water preservation.
"We put a new dam in a few years ago now, and this is the first year that it has been full to the brim," Mr Hoogstraten said.
"The recent drought is still fresh in a lot of peoples minds and water is just as crucial for your cattle's progress as feed is."
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