After an enlightening and enjoyable visit to the Symon’s Lanaud Stud and the Galligan’s Otway Felix Stud in 2012, Murray and I decided to head North in Victoria in 2014. Seeing our Australian neighbours with well covered cattle in close to 40° C eating white unbaled hay showed Limousin in the environment in which they have an edge over all other breeds. Despite what seemed like extreme drought, the cows were healthy and their calves thriving.
After the Australian Open in January, we ventured to Wangaratta, North East Victoria where we were hosted at the Chateau and Montrose Studs farmed by the McIntyre family, John and Beverley and their son, Andrew. Glenola Stud farmed by Geoff and Jocelyn Owen was near Wodonga. The Limousins were impressive and the hospitality warm. Both breeders were hot on feet and at pains to say they did not touch the animals’ feet. Interestingly neither weighed the calves at birth, for different reasons.
The McIntyres will be recalled as the breeders who gained the top price for one of their heifers, “Chateau Gin and Tonic” at last year’s national sale. The heifer is now in New Zealand with their new owners, Erik and Lyn Van der Valden. Already John and Beverley had selected a small number of cattle from their 75 calves registered and were preparing their protégés for this year’s sale. The heifers and bulls were already standing out. The McIntyres had an extensive programme of AI and ET using a range of sires. The progeny from SVL Polled Exclusive were quiet and well muscled with heifers, High Society and High Fashion, standing out. Two Whiskey-Jack bulls, Heineken and Henchman were also impressive. John and Beverley recognise the value of the maternal side of breeding and ensure the cows are of the best quality. Andrew is moving into the Black Limousins and he says they must be able to stack up against the Apricots and Reds so as to not compromise the breed.
Geoff Owen will be recalled in the 2012 Limousin Magazine for the article on his breeding of bulls for servicing the vealer market. He spent an afternoon showing us the variety of land grazed by his cattle. 2013 saw Glenola register and record over 100 calves. Geoff and Jocelyn have four different blocks that they own or lease. Water is essential and one property on Allan’s flat had 8 springs to ensure water supply, even in the worst drought. Glenola had eight mature Limousin bulls on the properties. Geoff liked to use bulls and cows with a Dauphin background as they left size and muscling. We saw Glenola ten year old Zeus as an example showing excellent muscling. Willow Park Uplift has been influential in the herd, along with Willow Park Zapper, a Full French Highlander bull. Murray liked Birubi Big Timer, a polled Ionesco bull with the AA Two copies F94L.
We came away inspired to use wider genetics to raise the level of our own herd in our chosen direction of quiet, well muscled, polled, well covered, medium sized Limousins.
Peta Lean and Murray Kivell