Lindsay Barlow of Triple B Brangus, Duaringa, is facing dry times as he hasn't seen good rain in many months.
Lindsay Barlow of Triple B Brangus, Duaringa, is facing dry times as he hasn't seen good rain in many months. Alice Mabin

CQ farmer praying for rain ahead of annual on-farm sale

IT HAS been six months since Lindsay Barlow has seen rain on his Central Queensland property. But in true Aussie farmer style, he does have hope it will fall eventually.

Mr Barlow and wife Fiona operate family business Triple B Brangus stud.

The Barlows own three properties around Dingo. Araluen is 2830 hectares located 38km north of Dingo; 10km south of Dingo lie Namoi and Glendarria, which combined are 7280 hectares.

Overall, the Barlows have a Black Brangus herd of 1200 with 600 stud cattle and 600 commercial. And all of those cattle need to eat.

The last time the properties had decent rain was in the last week of February, when 105mm fell.

There was 3mm last weekend but the dismal amount "didn't do anything".

"I didn't expect anything out of it," Mr Barlow said.


Lyndsay Barlow of Triple B Brangus, Duaringa, is facing dry times as he hasn't seen good rain in many months.
Araleun, Duaringa is a black Brangus stud. This was taken last year and now the land is much drier due to the drought. Alice Mabin

Growing up around the Yeppoon, Emu Park area, Mr Barlow was raised on the land. Having been in the Dingo region for the past 25-30 years, the last big dry he remembered was 2009.

"It was worse then," Mr Barlow said.

"It didn't rain for a long time and the cattle got really down in condition."

He will never forget those emotions of happiness and relief when it finally did rain.

"When a dry time likes this finally gives up and it rains, it is a good feeling," he said.

Mr Barlow said this year had been quite challenging.

All cattle are on a dry feed supplementation or molasses. The biggest issue is getting the products.

"We're having major issues of continuing supplementation, companies can't keep up with the demand," he said.

"We get a bit stretched and the cattle run out of supplement before the next batch comes in.

"With the conditions, with how they are, it's not ideal at all."

The wet season this year ended abruptly. The summer rain finished early, with the last rain still early in the season. This meant before coming into winter, the conditions were already turning harshly.

"You just have to roll with the punches, it's one of those years," Mr Barlow said.


Lindsay and Fiona Barlow with their two sons.
Lindsay and Fiona Barlow with their two sons. Contributed

The Barlows are getting ready to host their biggest event of the year, the annual on-property production sale at the end of September.

It is the largest single-vendor Brangus sale in Australia and is now in its sixth year.

This year has been taxing in getting the cattle up to the highest standard to present, Mr Barlow said.

"The quality is there, it's the same, but it has just been a lot more challenging and a bit more work under these conditions," he said.

Triple B Brangus sale:

  • Annual production sale
  • Araleun, 1228 Alscae rd, Dingo
  • Wednesday September 26, 11am to 4pm
  • 80 Brangus bulls and 230 purebred females on offer

Attendees to the sale in previous years were usually from around Central Queensland, Far North Queensland, as far west as Boulia and as far south as Gunnedah in NSW.

Mr Barlow had been keeping an eye on sale prices and activity to gauge how his sale would fare.

"The averages are not too bad, and the top prices, but the clearance rate has been worrying, the clearance rate is the big one," he said.

"You put them up to sell, them not to take them home again."

Just a couple of months ago, Mr Barlow took weaner steers to the Central Queensland Livestock Exchange at Gracemere. They sold for $300 less per head compared to the year before.

Despite this and the lack of rain, Mr Barlow had no plans to give up.

"If it was easy, everyone would be doing it," he said.

"You just hang on to a bit of hope and believe it will improve."

He believed it would rain before the year was out.

"Most predictions are referring to below-average rainfalls. I would be very surprised if it hasn't rained before Christmas," he said.

"You have to be a little optimistic but at the same time I don't get excited until I am tipping out the gauge."

And farming was all about supporting each other, especially in these hard times, he said.

"At the end of the day, no one works to see their cattle starve," Mr Barlow said.

"We're all doing the best we can do."