News

October 2017

Congratulations to Toogoolawah SHS. A great result for the school with their first animal put to auction on Friday.

Mt Brisbane Droughtmaster A highlight of Friday’s Shepherdson & Boyd Toogoolawah Store Sale was the selling of a registered Droughtmaster bull on account Toogoolawah State High School and Mt Brisbane Droughtmasters. Jointly owned by the McConnel family of Mt Brisbane and the High School, the school had selected the bull at weaning in 2016 with the students then preparing and exhibiting the bull for the last two years. A bus load of students had a morning trip to the saleyards to watch their first animal sell, a mixture of emotion as the students had become particularly attached to the bull going by the name of Hawkeye. Past High School Student and auctioneer Jack Fogg had a steady stream of bids from the opening $4000 bid with David Deane of Redlin Grazing at Toogoolawah the successful purchaser taking home the 24 month bull for $5600. Half of these proceeds remain with the school and will be used to further enhance their Agricultural program. Registering a Droughtmaster Stud in 2016 the school has already enjoyed much success taking home Supreme Exhibit at this year’s Droughtmaster Gatton Futurity Show with a young heifer owned by the school, Mt Brisbane Heidi, and then taking out the Champion School in the Schools Judging competition at the Ekka. Co-owner of the bull, Don McConnel said on the sale “we’re delighted to see this bull sell so well today and are pleased the money can go towards the school's Ag program. The temperament of this bull has seen the kids have a lot of fun with him and get them interested in pursuing careers in the Beef Industry”. Story on the Queensland Country Life Website: http://www.queenslandcountrylife.com.au/story/5025273/toogoolawah-ag-students-sell-for-the-first-time/

October 2017

We always enjoy the opportunity to meet with International delegations, show them our operation and discuss the Australian Beef Industry. Another enjoyable visit with Chinese delegates, customers of Frontier International, a company which exports large numbers of cattle to China and other countries.  

Traditionally, thousands of dairy cows have been imported into China, they are now moving towards importing beef breed females to join in China, with the progeny going into their feedlots.


The delegation, led by Ben Clifford from Frontier, included Ding Jin who is the Vice General Manager of Beijing Xiong Te Animal Husbandry and Alex Sicong Wang who is manager of the Intel Trade Department for that company. Newly appointed General Manager of Food Leaders Australia, Bruce McConnel, our youngest son, was also present as well as the new General Manager of the Santa Gertrudis Society, Stephen Ware.

The delegation was interested in looking at red cattle, particularly Droughtmasters.  We had a pen of young bulls, weaner steers and newly joined maiden stud heifers for their inspection together with  kill sheets and photos of both grassfed and grainfed cattle.

July 2017

In December with our country drying off and the prospect of rain not looking promising we made the decision to sell just over 100 steers, the first time we have ever sold store steers. We have always fattened and sold as prime bullocks.

Mt Brisbane DroughtmasterMt Brisbane DroughtmasterThe cattle were sold to Mort & Co and were fed at their Grassdale feedlot. We inspected them a week before they were killed back in April. The feedback we got on these cattle was promising and proves we’re on the right track producing profitable performers; remembering these were the tail end of our steers, we kept what we thought to be our top steers, to fatten ourselves on grass.
The steers were drafted by their weight and placed into four different pens with other cattle. We were pleased to hear our cattle settled in quickly and there were no deaths.

Mt Brisbane DroughtmasterOur cattle averaged 129 days on feed. They entered the feedlot at an average liveweight of 417kg. At the end of their time, our 104 head averaged a daily gain of 2.14kg/day outperforming the cattle they were being fed with in their pens. They dressed out at an average HSCW of 386kg with a very solid average dressing percentage of 55.43%.

Many thanks to Jack Wilkinson, Livestock Buyer for Mort & Co, for providing us with this feedback.

May 2017 Toogoolawah State High School Success at Esk Show – Supreme Tropical Female with Mt Brisbane Heidi

Congratulations to the staff and students of Toogoolawah SHS on their continued success on the local show circuit. To add to the bull and heifers the school took ownership of in 2016, the school took delivery of a weaner bull and two weaner heifers just two weeks before the show. The cattle were quiet but all the same unhandled and we were very impressed to see them make their show debut at Esk, well done to the students on getting them ready in that short time.

Their two weaner heifers Mt Brisbane Ikea and Ita were first and second in their class while the bull Mt Brisbane Ian was third in his class. Mt Brisbane Hawkeye went onto be awarded Junior & Grand Champion Droughtmaster Bull. While Mt Brisbane Heidi continued her winning success from The Gatton Futurity winning Junior & Grand Champion Droughtmaster Female and Supreme Tropical Female.

While it’s satisfying for us to see the Mt Brisbane prefix back in the showring after close to twenty years, it’s more rewarding to see the level of competence and confidence the students are showing at each show exhibiting these cattle and their led steers.

April 2017 CHAMPION CARCASE – Kilcoy Show 2017

We were thrilled to walk away with the Champion Carcase at this year’s Kilcoy Show. We entered 14 purebred steers into this year’s Feedlot & Carcase Trial with a total of 97 steers entered with exhibitors choosing 67 steers to be judged on the carcase. The cattle entered Smithfield Feedlot, Proston in January and were fed for 101 days before slaughter at Kilcoy (KPC) on Saturday after the cattle were judged live at Kilcoy Show on the Friday.

The winning steer (was out of one of our single sire commercial paddocks, he is by Ivanhoe 1101. This bull has really impressed us since his first drop of calves, he was quickly promoted to stud sire duties and the majority of bulls we have for sale this year are by him.

Mt Brisbane DroughtmasterThe winning carcase (Pictures: The Champion Carcase Kilcoy Show 2017 - Third from left) had the largest eye muscle area of the competition at 103cm2, the only carcase to measure over 100cm. The two tooth steer dressed out at 52.45% for a carcase weight of 321kg. He achieved maximum points for P8 Fat Depth, Fat Colour, Eye Muscle Area, pH and scored well for Rib Fat Depth, Weight for Maturity, Marbling and Fat Distribution.

In addition to our Champion Carcase, we also had steers place in equal 7th and equal 12th place.
We had one steer dress out at 54.25% and one at 53.81%. We were happy enough with the scores of all our steers, a few of them were out of spec on fat cover – feed conversion at its best! We had the largest and fourth largest eye muscle measurements in the competition at 103cm2 and 96cm2. All the steers scored well on Marbling with four steers achieving maximum points.
In the feedlot weight gain component of the competition we finished fifth (3.32kg/day) and tenth (3.14kg/day). Our fourteen steers averaged 2.57kg/day which is spot on the competition average of 2.58kg/day.

Mt Brisbane DroughtmasterIt’s been nearly four years since our last carcase championship at Esk Show in 2013. We continue to enter these competitions as we believe the feedback is invaluable as seedstock producers as we strive to produce cattle that are commercially relevant, profitable and best suit our environment.
Many thanks to the hardworking committee of the Kilcoy Show Society Prime Cattle section and thank you to the team at Hayes & Co, Smithfield Cattle Company and KPC for your contribution in maximising the returns for all exhibitors.

Mt Brisbane DroughtmasterPictured left: Grainfed steer being judged on the hoof at Kilcoy Show last week. Many thanks to Glen Cameron for the photos.

March 2017

Congratulations to Toogoolawah State High School on their success at the Gatton Futurity Show.  With 126 head paraded it was the largest showing in the 32 year history of the event.  We were delighted to see the students awarded Supreme Exhibit of the Show with the 18 month old heifer Mt Brisbane Heidi. Recap on the day on the Queensland Country Life website: http://bit.ly/2lxPELg

Mt Brisbane Droughtmaster
Pictured with the winning heifer are a very proud Toogoolawah State High School show team, Judge Steve Farmer, Associate Judge Lauren Finger, trophy sponsor Margaret Wilson and breeder of the champion heifer Carli McConnel.