Farmer to Farmer
Q: How long have you been a farmer and what have/do you farm?
Our family has owned the original Daylesford farm property since 1965. So I have always had things to do on the land from an early age.
We ran a few cattle, grew potatoes and had sheep to shear alongside our then other business pursuits; I became a full time farmer from 1986. The first cattle we had on our farm back in the 1960s were Angus, but at that time our family was focusing its attention on running “Kookaburra Gas”, an independent petroleum business.
In 1986 we sold our business and decided to get serious about rearing cattle.
We assessed the various cattle breeds on offer, and decided we still could not go past Angus for breeding seedstock.
We now run Angus beef cattle, trading as High Spa Angus Stud, on 1500 acres split across three main properties in the Daylesford and Mount Franklin district.
Our breeding objective is to breed functional Angus cattle with a balance of growth, fertility and carcase quality, backed with strong performance records.
Q: Tell us about your family.
My parents Jackson and Netta Mobbs - both now deceased - raised myself, my brother Wayne and my sister Mary in Daylesford with a strong work ethic; strong and loyal family values with a love of nature, animals and the land.
We all worked together for many years.
Now Wayne and I run High Spa Angus Stud, along with our wives Theresa and Rose - and with able assistance from my son Kevin and his son Shannon.
In a close family business we all have specific roles and work to our strengths but we are flexible and can pitch in wherever required - it works well.
Most of us are keen Essendon supporters and we follow them through good times and bad.
Q: Best advice you ever received?
The best advice I have ever received has come from the women in my life, my mother, sister, wife and now my daughters-in-law and my granddaughters - that you can never get back time not spent with your family; so it is important to strike a healthy work/life balance.
Q: Describe your perfect day.
My perfect day, whether it is wet, fine or even snowing, begins by doing something like taking out a bale of hay to the cows and calves.
Out in the paddocks there is just me and the animals as I roll out the hay, talk to the “girls”, and check out which calves are showing promise as future stud females or bulls.
It might make me smile even more if the Bombers have had a win that weekend.
Q: Best investment you ever made?
One of the best investments we made in our endeavour to breed a great herd and to offer to the industry super performing bulls was to become a full member of Angus Australia, and to be a participant in Angus Group Breedplan.
This has enabled us to use estimated breeding values (EBVs) as a tool, alongside visual assessment to breed the best animals possible.
EBVs can also inform us what bulls are best suited to join first calving heifers, and they assist us to help clients select out bulls that are particularly suited to their end markets.
Q: Worst investment you ever made?
One of our worst investments ever was to buy some bull semen which, when used on our herd, threw back to a heavier animal way back in the pedigree and it created all sorts of difficulties with the heifer herd we had to him.
The worst of it was, going on his EBVs, this bull should have posed no such problems and although we have heard about the odd farmer who also experienced what we did, most that we know of had no major hardships.
So as an investment it was one that we went into in good faith and we would probably do so again on the information at hand, but it was no fun pulling his abnormally heavy calves from the suffering heifers at the time.
Q: Best memory?
My sons may not agree with this but one of my best farm memories is when the whole family, my parents, my wife and all the boys when they were young, possibly with some of their young cousins as well, went out on a “working bee” to clean up a particular paddock of sticks or stones.
The heads would be bent for hours and the old adage “many hands make light work” paid off.
There was a bit of groaning but usually a lot of chatter and banter as well and at the end of the day we all went home tired but satisfied.
Q: How can we get in contact with you – what’s your website?
We have a regularly updated website www.highspa.com.au and there are contact options on that site.
FAMILY FOCUS: The Mobbs family have farmed their land since the 1960s, and today High Spa Angus is run as a family enterprise – with three generations all employed on the farm.