Victoria Downs in Queensland’s south-west district of Morven is a property steeped in history.
While Will Roberts manages the property today, it was originally purchased in 1906 by his mother’s great grandfather.
“My parents purchased the property many years later in 1971 and then in 1984 my wife Narda and I purchased our share,” Mr Roberts said.
At Victoria Downs the couple raised their four children Carla, Camilla, Catherine and Candice, and today two staff are employed by Will.
The 13,000 hectare property currently runs around 200 cows and more than 700 dry cattle – though in a normal year unaffected by drought, the stocking regime is closer to 15,000 DSE.
“At the moment we are feedloting our own cattle, but in the past we have sold to feedlots,” Mr Roberts said
Sheep and wool also rounds out the operation at Victoria Downs.
Mr Roberts said a lot of time, money and energy has gone in to dealing with the wild dog issue in recent years.
“We are in a strong position now with the cluster fence being finished which means we are personally in a dog free zone,” Mr Roberts said.
The Roberts’ haven’t tried any alternative mapping approaches before and hope they’ll see benefits when making grazing decisions by being part of the NRM Spatial Hub project.
“We are very interested in good environmental outcomes through our grazing management,” Mr Roberts said.
“The basics are the most important thing to get right in any operation but innovation helps to fine tune them,” he said.
“We take a lot of pride in what we do and we’re always aiming to ensure we leave our property in a better environmental condition for the next generation.”
Mr Roberts said after being on the land all his life, he knows that in time fortunes will turn around for the Morven district and the rain will fall again.
In the meantime he said he’ll use the tools available to him to make the right choices.
“It’s a challenge to keep up with the need to develop our land, but right now we have to use whatever we can to make better use of each drop of rain.”