Family’s love affair with lowline cattle
Tennents focus on local produce for CQ region
IT IS common to hear people opting for a seachange and Mackay and the Whitsundays would be a great place to do so.
But Mandy and Kell Tennent turned in their coastal lifestyle more than seven years ago for a more peaceful and relaxing tree-change... or so they thought.
While both Mandy and Kell’s families have cattle properties, neither had an initial interest in following in their footsteps.
Kell, who was a marine mechanic, and Mandy, a fisheries inspector, started their bovine adventure with just four cows on their Emu Park property and when they increased their herd to 12, the 10 hectares just wasn’t big enough.
The couple looked to where Kell had been raised in Finch Hatton and they discovered Cloudbreak, an 87-hectare former dairy at Crediton, near Eungella, that was perfect for their new home.
It would take two more years before the Tennents made the final move, travelling between the two properties in the meantime.
During that challenging time, Mandy and Kell would extend their family, with two daughters born since they bought the farm.
The history of the property was interesting to the Tennents who purchased the acreage from descendants of the original family, who obtained the land in the 1930s ballots.
But the true drawcard of the property was the high rainfall and lush kikuyu and clover pastures that would prove to be ideal feed for their beloved lowline cattle.
But the move to the Crediton property has not been without a good deal of hard work.
The Tennents said weed management on their property had been vital, with a constant need to keep lantana and tobacco bush under control.
Mandy and Kell have made a conscious decision to make Cloudbreak as sustainable and eco-friendly as possible by using modern farm practices, advocating strongly for farm biosecurity and participating in joint ventures with Mackay Regional Council, Reef Catchments and Land for Wildlife.
While the original concept for Cloudbreak was to breed high quality stud cattle to sell to local farmers and for export, a secondary business
model has emerged with the production of Eungella Beef.
And the locally produced, free-range, grass-fed beef has certainly been popular with those who are keen to know their produce is local and has low food miles.
Mandy said provenance was important to locals.
“We can guarantee this, as our lowline cattle and bulls are all registered with the Lowline Association,” she said.
“Through tail-hair DNA testing, the meat they produce is therefore traceable, assuring our customers the history of our Eungella Beef, and beef quality, security and safety.”
This forms part of their focus of building strong relationships, which is important to the Tennents.
“We’re keen to maintain great working relationships with our customers and suppliers, such as the local Kuttabul butcher who prepares whole side packs, which are then delivered to customers around the Mackay district,” Mandy said.
“We offer meat by the kilo at the Greater Whitsunday Farmers Markets and the local Eungella General Store.”
The couple has readily embraced the local interest in their enterprise and teamed up with Hello World to offer farm tours and host the occasional farm open day to the general public.
“Each event is thoughtfully planned to showcase our beef product and live cattle,” she said.
“The visitors get a glimpse of our everyday life of fresh mountain air, clean water creeks and peace and quiet.”
But it’s not all scones with jam and cream, gentle mooing from their cows and cool temperatures for the Tennents.
With Kell working away at a local mine, Mandy is busy with their young daughters, managing the house and property along with their 100-strong herd, which requires feeding, moving and occasionally nurturing during calving season.
There is also the planning for the future growth of Cloudbreak and 2018 looks to be another busy year for the family.
“Along with continuing to support the Greater Whitsunday Farmers Markets, we will attend the new Homegrown and Handmade Markets in February at the Finch Hatton Showgrounds,” Mandy said.
“We will also be making an appearance at Beef Australia 2018 held in Rockhampton, to showcase lowlines with the assistance of Mackay Christian College’s agricultural students.
“And we will look to undertake a study in the field of artificial insemination as a future venture.”
When asked if a B&B was on the horizon for the family, Mandy said it was a common question but that it wasn’t in their plans.
“We are passionate about furthering the local food cause, and providing local people with local produce,” she said.
“And educating people about where their food comes from, and how it is treated.”
❝ We are passionate about furthering the local cause and providing local people with local produce. — Mandy Tennant
FAMILY AFFAIR: Mandy and Kell Tennent with their daughters Imogen and Cassidy and cow Lucy.
One of the many beloved lowlines on the Tennents’ property at Crediton.
Imogen and Cassidy Tennent with a calf.
A group touring the Tennents’ farm.
Kell hand-feeding his cows.