Farm Online

Hazeldeans Angus and Merino ties run deep

LONG PROUD LEGACY: Hazeldean Angus and Merino studs' Jim and Libby Litchfield, with daughter Bea Litchfield, son-in-law Ed Bradley and grandson Stirling. Photos by Camilla Duffy Photography.

This article is branded content for Hazeldean.

The morning sun is starting to melt the dew as Bea Litchfield looks across the paddock.

There, through the mist, graze the impressive black forms of Angus cattle.

Nearby Merino sheep make their way to the dam, the sun bouncing off their magnificent fleeces.

For Bea, this is witnessing 157 years of hard work by her family to produce Hazeldean's superior genetics for Angus and Merino producers.

But she is also looking to the future of her family's Hazeldean studs, determined to continue evolving and innovating, just as those before her have done to keep the Hazeldean genetics strong throughout the years.

The renowned Cooma stud's Angus bulls and Merino rams are destined for farms right across the country, continuing the Litchfield legacy that was born in the Monaro soil nearly 160 years ago.

Steeped in history

Hazeldean is known as one of the oldest and largest Merino and Angus studs in Australia.

Its story started when the family property Hazeldean was settled in the 1860s by James Litchfield.

It wasn't long before James had established the Hazeldean Merino stud on his first 130-hectare block in 1865.

He began to build his empire, eventually owning more than 18,000ha of perfect Merino breeding Monaro land.

James' eldest son Arthur took over the reins before his son James introduced Angus cattle in 1926 with the purchase of purebred commercial Angus females.

The registered Angus herd was established in 1952 when they imported in-calf heifers from six New Zealand studs.

And from here it flourished, with Hazeldean becoming one of the first breeders in the world to begin performance testing in their cattle.

In fact, the stud was so instrumental in performance testing, Breedplan was launched officially at Hazeldean in 1985.

But the Litchfield family's dedication to innovation didn't stop with its cattle.

In 1954 James began weighing their Merino fleeces, how much wool they cut and the fineness of the fleece. With this step, Hazeldean became the first stud in Australia to measure fleeces. Some commercially-focused clients have continued to support the Litchfield family's sales for more than 30 years.

SUPERIOR: Hazeldean cattle are renowned for their docility, fertility and carcase performance, as well as their ability to thrive in tough conditions.

Bright future

Today, James' son Jim Litchfield is the managing director of the Hazeldean studs, and has continued to grow the family's impressive studstock business.

Jim and his wife Libby are now watching their daughter Bea and her husband Ed Bradley taking over the reins of the historic family business.

Like those before them, they are also enjoying their grandson Stirling growing up on the family property, and feel confident that the historic Hazeldean name is in good hands.

The Angus stud is renowned for producing fertile and docile cattle, which thrive in tougher conditions.

The Hazeldean blood also means ease of calving and excellent carcase performance.

Genetic measurement remains the cornerstone of Hazeldean's breeding programs, including extensive artificial insemination and embryo transfer programs in their herd.

Science also plays a huge role in their Merino flock, with DNA samples taken at lamb marking which verify both sire and dam pedigree, as well as more accurate breeding values.

Hazeldean is known for its heavy-cutting, fine wool Merinos, which are a plainer-bodied sheep with excellent early growth and fleece performance.

More opportunities

Hazeldean will be offering its impressive line-up of more than 500 Angus bulls at four sales across the country in the coming months.

Eighty bulls went under the hammer at the stud's autumn sale at Cooma earlier this month.

There will be 200 bulls on offer on August 11 at the stud's northern bull sale at Drillham, Queensland, and 80 bulls for sale at Tamworth's TRLX on August 16.

The Hazeldean Spring Sale will take place on September 1, offering 150 high performance bulls

Hazeldean will offer 350 Merino rams at its annual sale at Cooma on October 21.

The stud also has more than 500 flock rams available for private sale.

  • Contact Ed Bradley on 0412 298 546 for more details.

This article is branded content for Hazeldean.