Hay burners become earners

Hay burners become earners at West Wyalong


Beef
Greg Sutcliffe with his agent, Will Dean, Landmark, West Wyalong, with their next draft of Angus and Angus-cross steers ready for market weighing up to or over 400 kilograms, bred at "Wyreena" on the Quandialla Road.

Greg Sutcliffe with his agent, Will Dean, Landmark, West Wyalong, with their next draft of Angus and Angus-cross steers ready for market weighing up to or over 400 kilograms, bred at "Wyreena" on the Quandialla Road.

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What started out as a way to reduce old hay has become an excellent money-making Angus herd.

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EXCESS hay on “Wyreena”, West Wyalong, some five years ago led to the purchase of some heifers to clean it up, turning out to be one of the best decisions Greg Sutcliffe has made.

At the time his local Landmark livestock agent Will Dean made the suggestion, resulting in the purchase of some Angus heifers from Carcoar and Forbes store cattle sales.

“We then purchased more heifers from Millwillah stud, Young, and finished up buying a few of their bulls,” Mr Dean said.

The chance purchase has led to a self-replacing herd of some 150 Angus and Angus-cross breeders, producing steers and heifers that are grown out to feeder weights of 400-plus kilograms and depending on the market at the time, selling them to Jindalee Feedlot at Stockinbingal or onto Wagga Wagga saleyards.

“We take them up to 400kg, that’s about our ideal weight,” Mr Dean said.

“The cows calve down mainly between August and September up to early October and calves are taken up to about that 12, 14 to 16 months of age, depending on seasons.”

Mr Sutcliffe, a third generation of the district, said the beef operation was a low-maintenance type which allowed him to also concentrate on his winter cropping programs on what he described as flat gilgai country running into clay soils on the Quandialla Road from West Wyalong.

Unfortunately last year, that country ended up under flood waters for a couple of months from the winter and early spring record inundation in the region.

But Mr Sutcliffe’s optimism reckons the upside should be enough moisture collected within the clays to boost grain growing crops in the 2017 season.

The herd started with Angus bulls and has since introduced black composite sires from Morgiana stud, Freshwater Creek, south of Geelong, Victoria.

“We did this to introduce a bit more vigour to the calves,” Mr Dean said.

“There are a few breeders around here who are now going down that road.”

With the progeny, Mr Dean said he and Mr Sutcliffe were looking at efficiencies as the season could often cut out through the area.

“We need every kilo of feed that goes down their throat to count.”

The original heifers purchased were between 260kg to 300kg and the intention was to grow them out for market or on-sell in calf.

“But we just went down another avenue and worked the mob up to a self-replacing herd,” Mr Dean said.

This has resulted in positive rewards for Mr Sutcliffe, especially as the females were purchased at good prices, in hindsight, with progeny returning some excellent money.

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