Droughtmasters ‘naturally’ dominate northern expo off grass

7 Aug 2023


Strong seasonal conditions leading into this year’s Northern Beef Producers Expo provided the perfect opportunity to demonstrate the exceptional performance of Droughtmaster prepared naturally on grass.

Central Queensland stud and commercial beef producer Mellissa Angus agrees that anyone who saw the entries in the June 2-3 event at Charters Towers may well have seen grassfed cattle at their “absolute peak” after big summer rains charged the region with a coverage of grass not seen in decades.

“You could say the cattle had the best opportunity to show their growth potential for the last 18 months,” she said.

“And that goes for most of the cattle in the competition. The season was mostly widespread so most of the cattle were all on a level playing field, resulting in an incredibly even line of quality cattle across many different breed types.”

This year marked the fifth time the Angus family entered cattle in the event’s commercial competition from their Dawson Vale Station at Belyando Crossing, 150 kilometres south of Charters Towers.

The draft, Mellissa said, received no special treatment prior to being selected, making the result even more satisfying when the family was declared this year’s most successful exhibitor.

“Our approach is to muster paddocks in the weeks before competition and pick out those that we think will do well,” she said.

“They don’t get any assistance outside our usual commercial grass backgrounding and finishing operation.

“We were very pleased with the result this year as it provides us with feedback that our cattle are achieving optimum weight gain and growth rates and meeting the requirements of what processors are looking for, just by going about their natural business.

“The fact Droughtmaster dominated so strongly across all the classes speaks volumes about the breed’s adaptability and its capacity to not just survive but thrive in challenging environments and well exceed expectations when seasons are good.”

Of the seven classes the Angus family entered, there were only two in which they didn’t record a place.

They won pen of five export bullocks and pen of five feeder steers and placed second in the pen of five cows and pen of five trade bullocks, while placing third in the pen of five feeder heifers.

While running a line of about 3000 pure Droughtmaster females across three adjoining properties, Mellissa and her husband Kurt do some crossing with British and Euro terminal sires.

Their premium Shorthorn x Droughtmaster bullock offering, which won best pen of five export bullocks, averaged 736kg to equal $2060 a head.

Up to 24 vendors from across North Queensland and as far south as Blackwater and northwest of Julia Creek penned 578 head of cattle comprising 390 listed for sale, which included 119 ox, 74 cows, 45 trade heifers, 24 feeder heifers, and 66 weaners.

The competition was a triumph for many Droughtmaster breeders including Robert and Donna Rea, Lisgar Pastoral Company, Home Hill; Cliff and Sasha Mylrea, Needmor Cattle Co, Gogango; Steven and Claire Farmer, Mt Elsa, Yaamba district; Mac and Gayle Shann, Cantuar Park, Clermont; Ken and Kerry McKenzie, Yaralla Droughtmasters, Blackwater; Alex and Maree Power, Debella, Julia Creek and the Donaldson family, Old Corry, Bogantungan.

“Given the quality of the cattle presented this year as a whole, it makes this win even more special for us to walk away with, because it was an exceptional yarding of cattle this year,” Kurt Angus told Queensland Country Life after the event.

Kurt told QCL the Northern Beef Producers Expo was a showcase not only of cattle from the Charters Towers region, but also further north and back down into Central Queensland.

“The NBPE is just a great opportunity to showcase your cattle, whether it’s through a stud exhibit or a commercial cattle competition,” he said.

“This event is cementing itself as the spot for producers to showcase and benchmark their herd.”


Mellissa and Kurt with Kurt’s parents, Narelle and Neil Angus, accept the most successful exhibitor title for 2023. Picture: Ben Harden