IN the hills outside Running Creek on the NSW-Queensland border, Australia's largest herd of Sahiwal cattle can be found grazing contentedly.
While ticks remain a constant source of irritation and cost for many breeders, the Richardson family's Sahiwal herd hasn't been dipped for more than three decades.
With each treatment costing around $6/head, ticks are a huge financial burden on many Queensland beef operations, costing the Australian beef industry an estimated $175 million each year.
For the Richardson family, the little known Pakistani breed, Sahiwal, has proved to be the magic bullet they were so desperately seeking in the fight against ticks.
They originally ran dairy cattle on a property at Willow Vale on the outskirts of the Gold Coast but switched to Sahiwals in 1969 when they were unable to keep ticks under control.
Rod Richardson, who now runs the Sentinel Sahiwal Stud with his father Ernie and sister Elle, said the family's dairy herd was plagued by a tick that was completely resistant to all treatments and became impossible to control.
"The property was basically put under quarantine and they actually named the tick the Mount Alford tick after the property because it had evolved there," he said.
"We were using 50 times the strength of the dip intended and it still wasn't killing them.
"Dad had a relative in the beef industry who suggested we run Sahiwals, and that is how we got into them.
"He teamed up with Professor Des Dowling who worked in vet science at the University of Queensland and between him and Dad they started the Australian Sahiwal Society."
Forty years after purchasing their first Sahiwal breeders, the Richardson family is now running 230 Sahiwal and Sahiwal cross breeders on their 283ha property at Running Creek, 18km south of Rathdowney in South East Queensland.
The family relocated to Running Creek, a 1016 mm/year rainfall region, less than two years ago. They are hoping to eventually run around 350 breeders on the highly productive property.