Home' Smart Farmer : March 2012 Contents March 2012
OATS, meat sheep and diminutive
cattle breeds are the top choices for
lifestyle and small-area farmers
because of their low-maintenance and hardy
They also require less land while still allow-
ing producers the scope to supply meat on a
small scale to local customer networks.
Forging supply deals directly with con-
sumers reduces costs and improves customer
The first priority for small-area farmers
thinking about getting into livestock is fencing
to contain them.
Ellis Farm Consultancy's Simon Ellis said
the first priority should be to organise the
"Firstly, they need to protect resources, such
as watercourses," he said.
"Secondly, it will allow them to implement
Mr Ellis said this should be a higher priori-
ty than resowing existing pastures, otherwise
substandard pastures would result.
"Once you've got that going, they should
look into doing some soil-testing to establish
its fertility and find out whether liming or
superphosphate is required," he said.
When starting out, landholders should
decide on one species of animal to run, based
on what best suited their lifestyle.
"They should start out with one species, and
base that choice on what they might like," Mr
"Then, if they really think they want to, con-
template going to a second species later on.
"Returns from a small property are relative-
ly limited, so people might as well enjoy it."
Warrick Schopp, who has previously run
both Square Meater and Dexter cattle at his
Peake property, said smaller cattle were a lot
easier to maintain and look after during dry
seasons. Cattle tended to be quite easy on
fences and troughs, minimising the frequency
to perform maintenance tasks.
"We found them to be very docile cattle and
easy to maintain," he said.
"As far as growth rates were concerned,
Square Meaters were comparable to any other
breed of cattle and there was less feed required
to maintain the cow-and-calf unit.
"We had no trouble marketing the Square
Meaters because of the sizes they gained as
vealers. They also fitted into traditional mar-
Mr Schopp said that while Dexters were
harder to market because of their smaller size,
they did sell a number of cattle over-hooks at
Strathalbyn saleyards to Austral Meats because
of their small carcase weights.
For his operation it was a case of being able
to make more money a hectare by running the
smaller-statured breeds, rather than conven-
tional cattle breeds with less infrastructure.
"We found with Square Meaters we were
able to run three cattle compared with two
Murray Greys or Shorthorns on the same area
and with the same amount of feed, which gave
us an extra calf off the same area," he said.
Mr Ellis said that when it came to marketing
cattle, it was best to find an agent who suited
the landholder's style and personality -- as in
any business arrangement.
"Not everyone gets along with everyone, so
Subdivide property for rotational grazing
Do not rush, test species first
Get fencing up to scratch
THE hardy Wiltipoll breed is suited to arid
pastoral rangelands and wetter inside
Wiltipoll breeders Pip and Fred Hughes
(pictured with nephew and niece Hardy
and Piper Tesseyman, who visited the sta-
tion from Echunga to help out during the
last school holidays), Kars Station, Broken
Hill, made the move to Wiltipolls from
Merinos to tap into the lucrative prime
The Hughes family have been running
Wiltipolls for 20 years, and have found
sales of high-quality breeding ewes now
make up the majority of their enterprise.
Fred says that for the first 10 years, they
mainly supplied breeding ewes to smaller
growers and lifestyle farmers looking for
an alternative to wool and a low-mainte-
nance meat sheep.
In the past five to eight
years, their business has
expanded on the back
of high prime lamb
prices and strong
demand for cleanskin
"We are now in a posi-
tion to supply lines of full-
shedding breeding ewes in
commercial numbers to mainstream prime
lamb producers," he said.
Wiltipoll breed prove winners 'inside and out'
Make suitable choices
Dorper day: The Dorper Sheep Society of
Australia's South Australian branch is holding
another education day at Mount Pleasant
showgrounds after the resounding success of
the event last year. There will be discussion
about the Dorpers' history, along with useful
segments on husbandry. Common questions
about the breed, including shedding patterns
(with actual examples), upgrading,
commercial flocks, stud animals and typing
will be answered.
• Details: 0402 083 534 or 0448 801 986
Compact package: Lowline cattle were
developed by the New South Wales
Department of Agriculture from registered
Angus stock at its research centre at Trangie,
NSW. The cattle are placid and compact.
Dairyfarmers are also using Lowline bulls in
their dairy herds for ease of calving
(especially with heifers) and a shorter
gestation period (about two weeks).
• Details: Colin Millard 0407 382372 or
Rimek Pty Ltd Trading as
ACN 092 378 482 ABN 43 092 378 482
ALL SHEARING NEEDS
• Lister Shearing Plants & Grinders
• Moffat Virtue Shearing Plants
• Wide Grind Handy Crutchers
• Stockshear Clothing
• Dominator Woolpresses
• Holdmaster Lamb Cradles
• Lyco Woolpress Spares
• Wool Bale Trolleys
DISTRIBUTORS OF LISTER & SUPERSHEAR
All General Shearing Needs Spares for all other makes and
models of shearing equipment Repairs in Workshop and On Farm
Telephone (08) 8321 9155
25 Lindsay Road, Lonsdale SA 5160
Fax (08) 8381 1988
Mobile 0427 837 310
• Grow your own beef and milk
• Naturally small
• Big in quality
• Originated in Ireland
• Smallest British breed
SA Dexter Promotion Group
Chairman Kim Baddams 8389 9282
Secretary Kathleen Walker 8389 4113
IDEAL FOR SMALL FARMS
A little Bull
South East - Colin Millard
0407 382 372
Mid North - Elizabeth Trott
08 8668 4236
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