North East & Goulburn Murray Farmer - - FRONT PAGE -

DIANNE and Brian Shaw were plan­ning on a leisurely re­tire­ment.

Buy­ing 40 acres at Nilma, out­side of War­ragul, the pair were look­ing to down­size - but at the same time, were chas­ing a project.

Hav­ing been born and bred on a beef prop­erty in South Gipp­s­land, Dianne was keen for a farm­ing ad­ven­ture.

“The prop­erty, which we bought in 2010, is won­der­ful coun­try with good soils – ideal pas­ture grow­ing,” she said.

“We looked at hazel­nuts, sheep, even al­pacas.

“We set­tled on cat­tle, con­sid­ered fat­ten­ing steers or breed­ing Mur­ray Greys, but de­cided – be­cause it was a re­tire­ment project – we would pre­fer some­thing a lit­tle smaller.”

Minia­ture Here­fords were ex­actly what the Shaws were look­ing for.

Ex­actly the same as their beefier coun­ter­parts, Minia­ture Here­fords of­fer all the ver­sa­til­ity, eat­ing qual­ity and easy main­te­nance as any other breed – just in a lit­tle pack­age.

“Af­ter a visit to Ali­son Liver­more and John Mur­phy’s Winswood Minia­ture Here­fords, we were sold,” Ms Shaw said.

“They re­ally are a good look­ing an­i­mal, all a lit­tle dif­fer­ent with their red and white mark­ings.”

Fast for­ward seven years and the Shaws have just fin­ished calv­ing down.

In that time, they have come to love the lit­tle char­ac­ters that pop­u­late their small farm.

More than just breed­ers, they have be­come in­volved with the Aus­tralian Minia­ture Here­ford Breed­ers Net­work, and are now de­voted en­thu­si­asts.

“We are up to our sev­enth lot of spring calves - and over that time we have learnt a lot about han­dling and man­ag­ing beef cat­tle,” Ms Shaw said.

“Smaller cat­tle are def­i­nitely less in­tim­i­dat­ing and Here­fords are well known for their good tem­per­a­ment.

“Most of our cat­tle are sold pri­vately, whether it is for breed­ing pur­poses, grass eaters, pets or paddock-to-plate.”

Although a re­laxed re­tire­ment hasn’t worked out quite the way the Shaws orig­i­nally in­tended, Dianne and Brian wouldn’t have it any other way.

“Our friends thought we were crazy tak­ing on so much more work – they may have been right, but we wouldn’t change a thing,” Ms Shaw said.

For more in­for­ma­tion on Shady Creek Minia­ture Here­fords, visit the web­site at shady­creek­mi­nis. word­

HAPPY: Shady Creek breed quiet, happy Minia­ture Here­fords.

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