Crossing Droughtmaster bulls over red Brahman cows has proven to be a consistently winning combination for the Burge family.
Operating as Burge Grazing, the business, which includes Richard and Rebecca Burge and their sons Sam, Nick, Harry, Angus, Lachlan, is run across Lamonds Lagoon, north of Charters Towers, which has been in the family since 2000, and Benean and Rowena, in Richmond, which were purchased in 2009 and 2020 respectively.
Rowena consists of bauhinia buffel country, and Benean is predominantly downs country, while Lamonds Lagoon, the Burges' primary breeding block, is comprised of a quarter basalt country with the balance being forest country. Sam Burge said while they always receive rain at Lamonds Lagoon, Benean and Rowena also enjoyed good seasons.
"We have green grass and the cattle are in good shape," he said.
The family has dabbled with Droughtmaster genetics since buying Lamonds Lagoon 23 years ago.
"Joining Droughtmaster to our red Brahman breeders has helped to improve our herd fertility on the harder country there. We're achieving close to an 80 per cent fertility rate since we incorporated Droughtmasters into our program. We also find it easier to market the flatback crossbred steers."
The Burges put their bulls in their paddocks from Christmas through to June/July, with cows that don't produce a calf each year being culled.
They had been selling into the restocker market, but have recently begun selling back into the live export and feeder markets, mainly with a 300 to 350kg steer.
"We sell to Mort and Co via the Dalrymple Saleyards at Charters Towers for the feedlot job, and most of our export cattle are sent to Indonesia. We don't have the country to hold our steers past 350kg."
Mr Burge will be heading to the Droughtmaster National Sale this year to meet up with Simon Kinbacher, Garthowen Stud, Boompa, to pick up some bulls he purchased from the stud earlier in the year.
"We have seven Garthowen bulls in our paddocks at present, as well as one bull, which has a heavy Garthowen influence.
"I think the Garthowen bulls are pretty to look at, they have good framing, and they handle the harsh conditions in Charters Towers well. We have a fair few calves on the ground by these bulls that are all doing well."
He said he always found Mr Kinbacher easy to deal with.
"I'm in contact with Simon, to see what bulls he has available. We buy 10 to 15 bulls each year, and we'll definitely be purchasing more Garthowen bulls in the future. They do the job here."
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