We moved to our 60 acre property in 2003 from 14 acres; so more cows were on the agenda.
Initially we ran agistment cattle to help pay the bills.
Previous cattle had been brought in as weaners kept for 12 months & sold on mostly doubling our money – happy days. The focus was always Friesian-Hereford cross. We brought 3 cows to our 60 acres with us. These girls got lucky and become our first breeding cows and not steak. We needed a bull, so the hunt was on, we found a Hereford Angus cross bull cheap – so the cycle began. To help grow the herd we bought a jersey house cow, milked her and bucket raised some Friesian Hereford cross calves for breeding. After a few years the bull was changed for a purebred Hereford bull. Phil always liked red and white cows – a paddock full of red and white Herefords are a great sight. Our numbers grew to 15 breeding cows, so for a period of time each year we had 45 head on our 60 acres and grew our own hay and ½ an acre of spuds each year.
Our local school at Yolla, where our children attend is a farm school and we were asked if our children would be interested in sheep handling. Phil’s reaction was “I love lamb (with mint sauce)”. All 3 children started sheep handling. In September 2015 Phil attended a stock handling camp at the Jordan River Learning Federation School Farm with our children and others from Yolla School to learn some tricks of the trade for showing sheep. Jordan River were running a herd of Miniature Herefords – oh boy these guys are cool. The research started why Miniature Herefords? Why not – smaller cuts of meat, lighter footprint, quiet natured, eat less, run more numbers, purebred red and white cattle – these little guys could really suit our farm!
In December 2015 our first Miniatures arrive – Elsie & Faith in calf with calves at foot purchased from Jordan River School. Elsie and Faith were 9 and 10 years old – so getting on but great foundation stock.
Show season of 2016 we had our 2 heifer calves to show, our eldest son took on showing 1 while we had great help from a student from Yolla to show the other. We felt the wry eye of the big cattle breeders but we are purebred cattle, just like theirs. Our local shows in NW Tasmania had no competition so we won plenty of ribbons in our own classes, we had some thirds and fourths in pairs in interbreed which was fantastic competing against our big cousins. Brighton Show in the South was where we had competition from Jordon River School’s Miniatures. We lined up against 11 other Mini’s, our Lettie won the class and Linda was 4th. We were over the moon, our foundation stock were solid.
In July 2016 Faith had a bull calf born in the snow! Maverick a bull not really ideal as we wanted heifers to grow our numbers – oh well we shall grow a bull. Phil broke him in and our children showed him. All 3 of our children have now shown and continue to show our Minis. Our herd has grown via a few purchases along the way to 11 breeding cows, 8 calves from 2017-2018 and our bull Kingston. We still have 3 big girls whom all calved in 2017-2018 to Kingston. We hope to get to around 20 breeding cows in the next few years.
We must thank Joy Walters from Boomer Creek Miniature Herefords for her advice with our Minis. Also thanks to Denise Felmingham for her hands on help with showing and helping us out with her extensive knowledge.