Wagyus, hay and grapes keep Crooks busy

Diversity key to success


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Christine Crook, Overtime, Emerald, with CHDC Agribusiness Development Coordinator Liz Alexander. Christine and her husband Neville are breeding Wagyus, growing grapes, and producing butterfly pea for Australia's Sero-X production. Photo - Kelly Butterworth.

Christine Crook, Overtime, Emerald, with CHDC Agribusiness Development Coordinator Liz Alexander. Christine and her husband Neville are breeding Wagyus, growing grapes, and producing butterfly pea for Australia's Sero-X production. Photo - Kelly Butterworth.

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Diversity is more than a buzz work for Christine and Neville Crook, Overtime, Emerald.

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DIVERSITY is more than just a buzz word for Christine and Neville Crook, Overtime, Emerald, who pride themselves on having high-value, small-area agricultural interests.

The Crooks went into Wagyus seven years ago and now run a herd of about 100 breeders. 

“They have a beautiful nature and they will adopt calves and foster well, so they’re excellent,” Christine said. 

You can’t have just one thing anymore – with the land you have to have more than one investment, and we also have off-farm investments as well. - Christine Crook, Overtime, Emerald.

“We keep our heifers now and either keep them ourselves or sell them to other breeders, but we sell all our steers to the feedlot.”

The steers are sold directly to the local Goonoo Feedlot. 

The herd, a mix of purebred and full blood Wagyus, consists of a lot of eight cross beasts.

Christine said they recently sold their first full blood bulls, and were very pleased with how they went.

Christine and Neville Crook at home at Overtime, Emerald.

Christine and Neville Crook at home at Overtime, Emerald.

Alongside the Wagyu herd is four hectares of table grapes – which the couple were pleased to wrap up just before the rain hit Emerald a few weeks ago.

Neville said while the yields were low, the prices and quality were good. 

Adding to the mix is a hay business, underpinned by butterfly pea and Rhodes grass pastures. 

Neville and Christine are growing the butterfly pea to supply Australia’s production of the new organic bio-insecticide, Sero-X.

Sero-X is the first Australian discovered and developed bio-insecticide which is safe for non-target species including bees. 

Christine said because of the contract to supply Sero-X, the butterfly pea must be weed-free, so anything unsuitable is then turned around into the cattle.

“I guess you could say we’re diverse,” Christine laughed. “You can’t have just one thing anymore – with the land you have to have more than one investment, and we also have off-farm investments as well.”

Christine has recently retired from her role as a child health nurse but still works half a day every fortnight in children’s hearing, while Neville runs a busy agribusiness consultancy business. 

Due to Neville’s off-farm commitments, it is often Christine at the property keeping the cogs turning, and also tending to the couple’s extensive garden. 

The story Wagyus, hay and grapes keep Crooks busy first appeared on Queensland Country Life.

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