BEN Rumbel remembers the first time he went to the Glen Innes Whiteface Sale. He was about 10 years old. And he's been going ever since.
Mr Rumbel runs Supple Whiteface stud, Guyra, with his wife Leanne, and children Sophie, 7, and Dean, 9, and he is passing on the knowledge he has learned about breeding Herefords. He left school on his 16th birthday and began working for Foxforth Herefords, which was owned by his uncles Keith and Fred Starr. And it was here he helped them exhibiting cattle at the sale.
"Glen Innes was the major multi-vendor sale in Australia," he said. "If you weren't there in the first hour, there was no room left and you had to stand outside."
Mr Rumbel loved the years he spent working with his uncles. "Along with my parents, they pretty much taught me everything I know."
And he has never left the breed. Mr Rumbel started his own stud Supple in 2000 with cows from Foxforth, Courallie, and Eurungatuck Hereford studs. In 2012 the Rumbels inherited half of the Foxforth cows. "They are the horned part of our herd, which is about 60 females at the moment. These cows are now in their third generation of management after being started by my grandfather Ernie Starr as a commercial herd," Mr Rumbel said.
In 2014 the Rumbels purchased the Lindendale Poll herd of females from Greg and June James. "It was a truly humbling thing to be trusted with building on two generations of the James family herd. They were and still are the most impressive herd of poll cows I've seen," Mr Rumbel said.
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The Rumbels run 450 Hereford cows, and plan to build their pure horned cow numbers back up to 150 females. They also run some first-cross Shorthorn cows which are joined to a Hereford bull.
"We are striving to produce a high yielding, easy-to-fatten animal. Most of our commercial steers and cull heifers are aimed at Coles each year, achieving a 285-kilogram carcase average at 14 to 20 months. We also grow some out to export weights over 320kg and put some into feedlot," he said.
Mr Rumbel is very passionate about his cattle. "Our horn genetics are pure horn and will remain this way. I believe the horned breed has much to offer the commercial herd of Australia, as does the poll herd. There is no better animal to base a crossbred program on than a Hereford poll or horn."
And after decades of attending the show and sale, the Rumbels are still having success. Last year they topped the sale with $14,000 bull Supple Naked. And this year the family is taking 10 bulls to the sale, nine poll and one horned. "They are 22 to 26 month old bulls, which are commercially grown animals who will do a good job," he said. "Our bulls are the products of good cows."