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TAS Country : January 13th 2011
Friday, January 14, 2011 Tasmanian Country 5 News BLACK AND RED: Herefords and Angus are the favoured breeds for the Porteus family. Picture: KAROLIN MacGREGOR Ox simply out of the box harder to get the weight on and to finish.'' Pastures on all the properties are gradually renovated when needed by being put through a potato cropping rotation before being resown. Each year the Porteuses turn off between 1200-1500 cattle. Troy said they selected cattle that were ready to be processed out of each mob and anything that was not quite finished went back into the paddock. ''Realistically, we're probably a little bit under stocked so we always have an excess of feed, which means we can keep them growing ,'' he said. ''We don't have to turn them off all as one mob, so any that aren't quite right don't go.'' Troy said the aim was to have the cattle dressing out at about 400kg carcase weight. ''We try to get enough weight into them, without going over weight, because then we get fairly heavy penalties,'' he said. The family sell all their steers for processing at Smithton. All the cattle go through the Meat Standards Aust- ralia grading system. About 95 per cent of the cattle they send, make the MSA grade. ''It quite interesting to get the results back, but we haven't actually changed anything we do to make them grade,'' he said. ''I think it just comes down to the finishing sys- tem we have, they seem to be fairly consistent.'' The family buys cattle directly from breeders and through the saleyards. Troy said they preferred Angus and Hereford cattle because they seemed to perform best, but at certain times of the year it was just a matter of securing enough cattle numbers. While feeding is the key to turning off consistently good cattle, Troy said there were certain bloodlines and cattle from individual breeders that seemed to perform better than others. ''We've had cattle with zero teeth dressing out at over 400kg and we've had other cattle with eight teeth that are still strug- gling to make the weight,'' he said. Troy said a drop in the number of cattle breeders across the state, particu- larly since the drought, made sourcing adequate numbers difficult at times. ''There just aren't the number of cattle about that there used to be,'' he said. ''At the moment we're about 500 head down on what we need, but it's difficult finding them.'' With no major lift in cattle prices but increasing costs, Troy said it was important that they bought cattle at the right price to ensure they could make a profit. ''There isn't much of a margin in them, so we know what price we can afford to buy them for to make money,'' he said. ''If you don't keep an eye on it and stick to strict margins you could soon be out of business.'' Harvest time is a busy period of the year on the Porteus properties, when they cut between 3000 and 4000 large round bales of hay a year. Troy said this season's cold and wet spring and summer had not been ideal for cattle production. ''We find beef cattle don't do as well on that really wet, green spring grass --- it's all right for dairy cows, but beef cattle won't fatten as well on it,'' he said. Coping with the very wet conditions in the Cir- cular Head region could be challenging at times, es- pecially when it came to pastures. Troy said they had in- stalled a significant amount of surface drain- age, particularly on their Roger River property to help get rid of excess water. ''It can get fairly wet up here, Smithton has it s own micro climate,'' he said. '' It's a pretty late area, so we're normally not cutting hay until at least Christ- mas time.'' With the third gener- ation of Porteuses now helping out on the farm, it looks as if the family's beef growing tradition is set to continue. ''I don't know what I'd be do if I wasn't doing this,'' Troy said. STATEWIDE FOREST MANAGEMENT SERVICES Not sure where to get the best advice & nancial return from your privately grown planta on or na ve forest? Tas Land & Forest If you have a pine planta on, old shelter belt, eucalypt planta on or na ve forest. - We offer harvest management services either as "Overall Forest Management", or separately tailored services to your requirements. - We have strong market networks in both domes c & export to ensure you receive the best value for your forest products. Our team of forest professionals will work hard to maximise your nancial returns & ensure the property is le as required by you the landowner. For prac cal & professional advice backed with proven systems..... Please phone Kent Lyon on 0408 248 867 or Office 64231280 Kent.firstname.lastname@example.org 2080309-110114 h TASMANIAN ALKALOIDS Value Adding in Tasmania 2048557-04 Please remove any hidden obstacles in your poppy paddocks while they can still be seen and ensure access is clear. Delays are costly for everyone.
January 6th 2011
January 27th 2011