The Droughtmaster, one of the toughest breeds of cattle ever seen in Queensland, is set to be seen on more dinner plates in the years ahead amid a push for sustainability from consumers.

The Droughtmaster, one of the hardiest breed of cattle ever seen in Queensland, is set to be seen on more dinner plates in the years ahead.

Droughtmaster was the name originally coined by a group of cattlemen in North Queensland for the animal they developed to overcome the perennial problems of drought, cattle tick, heat and illnesses seen in other breeds. With the arrival of cattle ticks into North Queensland in 1896, it became apparent that maintaining herds of British breed cattle such as Shorthorns, Herefords and Angus in the harsh tropical environment was unviable.

While the Droughtmaster breed, which has been listed by the National Trust as a Queensland icon, has had a tough couple of years, things are looking up.

The Droughtmaster society, a non-profit firm that has promoted the breed since 1962, is eyeing an expansion after a recent restructuring aimed at meeting changing consumer demand and a growing focus on sustainability.

The Ipswich-based organisation was recently crowned the nation’s best exponent of excellence in business transformation at the Australian Business Awards.

Droughtmaster chief executive Simon Gleeson says the award is an endorsement of the organisation’s efforts to re-energise re-invigorate the brand.

The breed is the biggest beef type in Queensland and is now expanding across NSW and Western Australia. He stresses that while the actual breed was tough, the meat from the animal was anything but and has a big share of the domestic market, particularly in quality pubs and clubs. “It takes less water and labour to produce a box of Droughtmaster compared to Angus or Wagyu and with the focus on ESG that is part of the attraction,” says Gleeson.

Gleeson, who was in Rockhampton this week for the annual Droughmaster auction of bulls, says there are now 600 registered breeders, numbers not seen in more than 12 years. “Last year, one of the bulls sold for a record $220,000,” says Gleeson. “Droughtmaster cattle are arguably best suited to thrive in a world that is changing, where versatility and sustainability are essential. They have a great adaptability to the Queensland climate.

“They do well on country that doesn’t get high rainfall, they use pasture and water efficiently, they don’t need to be sprayed with lots of chemicals to protect them from pests and they don’t need a lot of grain feeding.”