Farming 300 head of Angus breeders within eye’s view of the Melbourne city skyline has not been an easy task this past year for Gerard Belleville, Woodlands, Romsey, and farm manager Patrick McCrohon.
They said the 2018 spring growing season was the driest they have experienced since acquiring the 526-hectare property in 2011 from the Lobb family, who had farmed it for 100 years.
Located only 40 kilometers north of the Melbourne Airport, they said the late break to autumn last year was the beginning of their hard road.
With a dry start also re-occurring in the spring, Mr McCrohon said they luckily rounded up about 80 per cent of conserved fodder needs before the summer’s string of high temperature days began to “smash the goodness out of the standing dry feed that grew as regrowth on the back of some early December rains”.
This week, the operation began its hand-feeding program, which unless an early break is received, makes for some further hard yards ahead.
Selling 100 head of Angus steer weaners at Ballarat’s annual steer sale last week, they said they were extremely pleased for their resultant prices that made to $1060 a head and averaged $985.
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Mr McCrohon said the Woodlands breeding herd was put together from purchases made from Yea and Ballarat female sales, while bull power had been sourced almost exclusively from Banquet Angus with a focus on growth, easy of calving and longevity.