The Droughtmaster breed is the result of crossing Brahman and Shorthorn cattle. The objective of this north Queensland breeding program was to develop a breed that could perform well in tropical areas. Other focal points in the program included tick resistance, eye cancer and an overall desire to overcome the threats associated with drought. Soon after, other British bloodlines (predominantly Hereford) were infused.
Droughtmaster cattle have medium to large frames and their coat colour varies between shades of red and tan. Their excellent heat tolerance has much to do with their short coats, loose skin and slow metabolic rates, while their red pigmentation helps to stave off eye cancer. They can be bred both horned and polled and exhibit a moderate-sized hump.
Traits such as high fertility, easy calving (due to pelvic structure and low birth weights), impressive maternal instincts, high carcase yield, amply milk supply, efficient weight gain, and climatic adaptability are common. Parasite resistance is achieved by a natural secretion from their sweat glands that acts as a repellent. Good foraging abilities are also common. Both bulls are cows mature early. The breed is also known for high yielding carcases with optimum fat cover and tender, well-marbled beef.
The Droughtmaster Society of Australia preserve and promote the breed throughout Australia.
In Australia, the breed is distributed throughout most states, with larges numbers found near the New South Wales border. The success of this breed has seen Australia export stock, semen and embryos to South-East Asia, Nigeria, Pakistan, parts of South America and some of the South Pacific Islands. The breed has enjoyed much success in the Asian feedlot market.