Meet Patrick Shanahan – a nine-year-old cattle entrepreneur who is cleverly using the family’s proximity to Wodonga’s Barnawartha saleyards to pick up mainly lightweight weaner steers.
Patrick is the son of Dominic and Caroline Shanahan who operate a livestock trucking business at Barnawartha with a depot in Toowoomba.
He is the youngest of six siblings but the “front man” in their cattle enterprise, buying steers which are grown out on an assortment of agistment and leased paddocks near the family’s home base.
While his eldest sister, Sydney, now works at Teys Australia’s Jindalee feedlot near Temora, his three other sisters, Ellouise, Molly and Riley and older brother, Jack, all play a role in the care and management of the cattle.
They all love riding horses so Patrick favours quiet cattle when he scours the pens at Barnawartha looking for bargains.
He also looks for quiet-natured Holstein steers which the family regularly provides to local campdraft groups for children’s competitions.
While Mr Shanahan provides some necessary financial backing for his children’s venture he tries to stay in the background in the management of the stock.
“They put a lot of work into it. It’s a great way to keep them all together,” he said.
Patrick is quite the entrepreneur and when he was seven he button holed local federal member of parliament, Cathy McGowan, at the Barnawartha saleyards and asked if she wanted to buy two bags of cattle manure from him for $2.50 each.
Ms McGowan didn’t have much choice but say yes and the bags were duly delivered to her home which isn’t far from Barnawartha.
Young Patrick, a student at St Monica’s Wodonga, has his own “company”, Pat-Trans, and is in the process of having blue shirts made with Pat-Trans embroidered on them.
The choice of colour bemused his father as Shanahan Livestock Transport staff wear green shirts and the company’s fleet of 25 trucks are painted white and green!
Patrick’s bidding finger was busy during the recent Wodonga weaner sales picking up 22 Droughtmaster and Santa Gertrudis steer calves from outback Tilpa for $565, nine Charolais calves from Jerilderie for $550 and a Limousin cross steer for a bargain price of $400 (other buyers walked straight past him because he had a weepy eye).
The Shanahan children are now running more than 200 head and usually grow them to around 400-450kg before selling them, often to backgrounders and feedlots.