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Rain eases pressure for Texas graziers

WELCOME RELIEF: Texas producers Owen and Bernadette Guymer, of Cornerview, were pleased with the recent rainfall.
WELCOME RELIEF: Texas producers Owen and Bernadette Guymer, of Cornerview, were pleased with the recent rainfall. Toni Somes

SEASON-WISE it was "really crook" for Texas graziers Owen and Bernadette Guymer until they tipped out more than 100mm in autumn falls.

The couple runs a fine wool merino and santa gertrudis cattle operation on Cornerview, a 1600ha property in the Silverspur region, on the Queensland/New South Wales border.

We were definitely getting pretty desperate and our water situation was real crook...there were holes in the creek dry for the first time I can remember.

It's been a tough 12 months for the Guymers, with paddock feed reaching critical levels and once reliable creek water holes running dry.

"We were definitely getting pretty desperate and our water situation was real crook," Mr Guymer explained.

"Water-wise it was as dry as I have seen it.

"We rely on bores and creeks and there were holes in the creek dry for the first time I can remember."

Fortunately, falls in the past three weeks have run water in the creeks and given the pasture a much needed, if late, start.

His family has owned the undulating grazing country for 106 years and while rainfall charts document other droughts, Mr Guymer said it was the ones in recent history you remembered.

"We've had other challenging years, but this one was definitely made harder by the stock water issues," he explained.

"When you don't have water in paddocks it limits how you use what feed you do have.

"Fortunately the rain we've had was enough to run water in the creeks and if it stays warm it should give us some paddock feed.

"But it's a bit late to truly make a major difference to feed levels going into winter."

So while the feed and water crisis has been averted, the Guymers are cautious about the immediate outlook.

Although they had not been forced to reduce numbers significantly and admit to conservative stocking rates.

At the moment the couple runs 1200 head of fine wool merinos, with shearing in August and the long-term goal of a 17-micron fleece average.

The other half of their operation revolves around 200 santa gertrudis commercial breeders, targeting the weaner market and selling through Goondiwindi or Warwick sales.

When the Rural Weekly caught up with the Guymers, they had trucked a line of quality 10 and 11-month-old weaner steers and heifers for the fourth annual santa and santa-infused show and sale in Warwick, on the southern Darling Downs.

The young cattle weighed between 280-300kg and were sold, Mr Guymer explained, because the breeders were starting to lose condition.

"The cows were just starting to struggle," he said.

"We haven't been heavily supplementary feeding yet, we've just had some lick blocks out so I think the stock have done alright."

It was a sentiment shared by show judge Pat McMahon.

Mr McMahon named the Guymers' entry the 2014 champion pen of steers, based on their confirmation, temperament and presentation.

Topics:  drought livestock texas