FRESH START: Paul and Sandy Burnell from Mackay in Queensland have started a hobby farm. They have five lowline cattle in their small property and have just welcomed a new bull calf.
FRESH START: Paul and Sandy Burnell from Mackay in Queensland have started a hobby farm. They have five lowline cattle in their small property and have just welcomed a new bull calf. Luke Mortimer

City slickers turn graziers

THEY are former "city” or "town people” but Paul and Sandy Burnell have found their stride as small-scale graziers.

The couple, who live on a 2.4ha property in Habana, which is a rural area just outside of Mackay, are now the proud owners of five lowline cattle.

They always had an interest in the rural lifestyle, so when the opportunity came up to purchase stock they were swift to act.

"We started with just buying two,” Paul said.

"That was our initial small herd, then we bought two more.”

Since doubling their herd, they decided to breed two of their registered cows and, in exciting news, have now seen the safe delivery of their first calf.

"We have called him Montee,” Paul said.

"We are pretty happy about it, especially being newbies.”

While Paul freely admitted he had more to learn about cattle management, he said it became obvious to him early on that lowlines were the perfect breed for him.

Their good-natured temperament has made them a stress-free mob.

"They are gentle and so easy to befriend,” he said.

"For example, after our cow gave birth I went up and distracted her with some feed and she let me pick the calf up so I could weigh him.

"Other cattle people are surprised we can do that.”

They have given each of their cows a paddock name (Rubee, Nancee, Rosee and Harmonee) and supplement their grass feed with lucerne and grain.

Since becoming a member of the Australian Lowline Cattle Association, the Burnells have received a wealth of support.

"We have been able to network with other breeders, they are all just so helpful,” he said.

The couple didn't have far to travel when looking for top-quality lowline genetics to breed their cows with.

Cloudbreak Lowlines, which is situated about an hour outside of Mackay at Eungella, were quick to offer their services.

"We met with Mandy and Kel Tennent ... we have also been able to catch up with them at the Finch Hatton Show.”

Since becoming a farmer, albeit a small one, Paul said he had become much more conscious of his environmental surroundings.

"I was always aware of the weather, but now I am always waiting for rain,” he said.

The couple have divided the property into paddocks and rotate the mob once a week.

"I have a quad bike, but all I really have to do is open the gate and lift up a bucket,” he said.

Montee was safely delivered last week. He is the first calf Paul and Sandy Burnell have bred.
Montee was safely delivered last week. He is the first calf Paul and Sandy Burnell have bred. Luke Mortimer


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