Quality over quantity
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.