Qual­ity over quan­tity

The Gazette (Derwent Valley) - - NEWS - ROGER HAN­SON

HIGH up in the hills be­hind New Nor­folk, a fourth­gen­er­a­tion farmer is qui­etly breed­ing qual­ity beef cat­tle.

Neville Fen­ton runs Mur­ton Charo­lais stud at Moog­ara and keeps his num­bers low to con­cen­trate on qual­ity.

“We keep our num­bers small for man­age­ment con­trol. We’ve got a good fol­low­ing through­out Tas­ma­nia, par­tic­u­larly on the Tas­man Penin­sula,” Mr Fen­ton said. “I ad­ver­tise any sur­plus fe­males and they are gone in days.”

He has four bulls and runs 40 fe­males, 30 of which are in calf.

“I’ve cut the num­bers back, we’ve had a few dry sea­sons.”

Mr Fen­ton said when the French breed charo­lais first came out to Aus­tralia in the early 1970s the re­sults were good. “We’ve stuck with them since and formed our stud in 1976,” he said.

He said the charo­lais breed was known for its car­cass at­tributes.

“Charo­lais is ex­tremely well suited to our con­di­tions. They get good re­sults when cross­bred with fe­males of Bri­tish breeds.”

Mr Fen­ton, 65, who also works off-farm in civil con­struc­tion, shares the 176ha farm with his brother Dar­rell.

The lo­ca­tion in the Der­went Val­ley boasts an el­e­va­tion of about 500m above sea level and snow is not un­com­mon in winter.

“It’s been in our fam­ily for four gen­er­a­tions, so we want to keep it run­ning.”

Mr Fen­ton’swife, San­dra, spon­sors. “It is worth turn­ing up.”

En­tries for beef cat­tle are now open and close on Septem­ber 1.

The Royal Ho­bart Show will run from Oc­to­ber 25-28. Beef cat­tle judg­ing will in­clude breed and in­ter­breed classes, ju­nior han­dlers and golden oldies. Com­mer­cial cat­tle are also back at the show this year and will be judged on the hoof only.

When we vis­ited, Mr Fen­ton was be­ing as­sisted with the cat­tle by his grand­daugh­ter Mol­lie and her friend Emily Jenk­ins, 16, of Bridge­wa­ter.

“The girls are han­dling a 16-month-old heifer and 13month-old heifer I re­cently bought at Dubbo,” he said.

“Mol­lie only weighs about 32kg and she can eas­ily han­dle a heifer weigh­ing about 500kg.”

Mol­lie said the charo­lais cat­tle were friendly an­i­mals.

“I love work­ing with them and I want to do it more as I get older,” she said.

Emily also likes work­ing with an­i­mals and will be show­ing at the Royal Ho­bart Show.

Mr Fen­ton is a great be­liever in the work of the Jor­dan River Learn­ing Fed­er­a­tion school farm and has loaned it three charo­lais heifers.

“Teacher Ash­ley Evans is do­ing a great job and you’ve got to get and help where you can,” he said.

Mr Fen­ton is also pres­i­dent of the Bushy Park show com­mit­tee. Mol­lie, a Glenora Pri­mary School stu­dent, is also a show com­mit­tee mem­ber.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.