Umbearra Station’s young McKay family is building a desert dynasty in the Red Centre

Angus and Kimberley McKay are modestly building a cattle dynasty in the desert, making daring purchases and adopting a conservative cattle administration technique to take care of their land.

Mr McKay was simply 24 years outdated when his father handed Umbearra Station to him and his young spouse Kimberley.

The property is in spectacular desert nation on the border of South Australia and the Northern Territory.

It was initially a part of Crown Point Station owned by Sir Sidney Kidman, who ran cattle and bred remount horses for World War I troopers.

The McKay family settled on Umbearra in 1962. Angus and Kimberley are the third technology to boost the family in a yard of spiky spinifex and pink mud.

Photo of the desert with people sitting on sand
When the property got here up on the market, the McKay family from Adelaide noticed a chance and took a leap of religion. (Landline)

“We could not have completed what we have completed since then without him setting us up like that.”

But it hasn’t been simple. It meant onerous work and withstanding the worst drought on file.

“We went via some robust instances final yr, and we had the most wonderful crew to again us up although it wasn’t good for them to do it they actually backed us up all the manner via,” Ms McKay stated.

Photo of a cattle station in the desert
Angus and Kimberley are the third generations of McKays running Umbearra station.(ABC: Landline)

Red Angus cattle

The McKays have round 4,500 Red Angus cattle, certainly one of the largest herds of its form in Australia. The breed originated in Scotland and was launched domestically in 1990. They are thriving on the desert property.

Photo of cattle yards
Daily life on the station is busy and make contact with with the exterior world is uncommon.(ABC: Landline)

Despite the ongoing dry, the McKays have at all times been very cautious with the numbers they handle.

They are additionally natural operators, making them a part of a rising pattern throughout central Australia.

Photo of cattle
Red Angus originated in Scotland chosen from Aberdeen Angus cattle. (Landline: Kristy O’Brien)

“It was a monetary determination.” Mr McKay stated.

“We knew the different guys round working natural and all of us function organically anyway, so it was simply a paper path that we needed to form of observe.

“So, it suited our organisation fairly properly and simply gave us a premium to do what we do out right here clear wholesome beef producers.”

As if running 3,600 sq. kilometres wasn’t sufficient of a problem, simply as they welcomed their third child two years in the past, the McKays determined to purchase the neighbouring 462,000-hectare Idrawora Station which had been in the arms of Abu Dhabi royal Sheikh Hamad Bin Hamdan Al Nahyan since 2007.

Opportunity throughout a drought

Mr McKay stated he and his spouse knew theirs had been a courageous name throughout a crippling drought however needed to stability that in opposition to the uncommon alternative to purchase a property in the area.

Photo of cattle in the desert
The McKay family run Australia’s largest Red Angus herd on the Southern border of the Northern Territory.(ABC: Landline)

Ultimately the McKays wish to run as much as 13,000 head of cattle throughout each stations whereas remaining cautious and never overstocking and “flogging” the nation.

The McKays utterly destocked their new property and eliminated a whole lot of feral camels and donkeys.

Photo of Red Centre desert
Locals say should you can play the lengthy sport and endure the seasonal vagaries, this land will give again in spades.(ABC: Landline)

“We mainly started from scratch. There’s a lot of labor there. So, we have been pulled out of our consolation zone now. And we’re again to the drafting board once more, growing one other large block,” Mr McKay stated.

Their objective is to finally move the properties on in the manner it was to them.

Photo of child
Even on a chilly day it is onerous to maintain these little station employees away from the cattle yards when one thing is occurring. (Landline: Kristy O’Brien)

“We wish to give these children the similar alternatives we had after we have been youthful. So, you realize, we have an obligation to attempt to move that on to them,” Mr McKay stated

Photo of cattle yards with young family
The McKays are motivated by the eventual passing of the baton to their young kids. (Landline: Kristy O’Brien)

It is a calling their young kids will likely be solely too comfortable to take up if their enthusiasm in the cattle yards is something to go by.

Watch this story on ABC TV’s Landline at 12:30pm on Sunday, or on iview.

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