Rose Morrow and her brother Geoff Simkus carry on the tradition of Angus started by their father Bob, who purchased his property Double K in the mid 1970s, at a time when the newly retired Grafton accountant took up the mantle of farming.
The 160ha property, offered for sale by Alan Hunter was in a good place, comprising the thumb of a peninsula bounded on three sides by the converging Orara and Clarence rivers.
Sandy loam rises to forest clays atop sandstone and hardy Angus cross breeders are put to a Nairn Park New Design bull.
Being a peninsula there are savings on fencing, although part of the river bank up the Orara junction is blocked to keep stock away from a rainforest of black bean, as the seeds make them sick. So does the orange flowering lantana, although Ms Morrow reckons the Angus infused cattle are very rarely affected.
In fact the herd is robust to the point that they need little management, which is fortunate because Rose and Geoff are busy with their other lives. Low birthweight calves require no pulling but good growth and Angus lineage leads to good prices at the Grafton saleyards.
Bob Simkus bought the property so his son Ian could improve his horsemanship, keen as he was on pony club. There is a photo of two of them with the property’s previous owner in front of the tin shack they called home whenever they visited from Grafton, only 20 minutes away. Sadly Ian passed away too young and now even the horses are gone, but the gentle approach to cattle remains.
Foundation Angus females came primarily from the Pigg family’s third generation Clarence Park stud at Ulmarra, which started with foundation females from Booroomooka and Hingai when they opened their gates in 1972. Current owner Craig Pigg has used Coolarmagh and Texus Angus sires.
The family’s original cow line has its basis in Fahey bred Brangus, with Angus over Bizzy Brahman females. Now there are pregnant heifers from Brian and Terry Anne Winters’ recent Brangus disbursement, which historically used Russel Connor’s Coolarmagh Angus bulls over red Tatrus Brahman. There is also Angus over Brahman cross from Fiona LeViney’s Turtle Creek.
“Angus over Brahman cross need to be treated like horses,” said Geoff. “They’re more intelligent than other cattle and don’t need so long to train. I’ve seen Brahman cross coachers herding some of our bought-in weaner steers like a cattle dog.”
The bull is a product of Rob Costello’s Nairn Park, at Walcha, whose father and stud founder, Dr Bill Costello, had a nurse named Rose Morrow when he had his surgery in Grafton. Rose insists the pair never talked about cattle while a patient was under anaesthetic, but they did so afterwards.
Geoff and Rose find their cattle are easy to manage because their is a genuine bond. They come when called. In fact, Rose carries a scrubbing brush in the handlebars of her quad bike so the bull can get a massage at every greeting.