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TAS Country : March 15th 2012
Friday, March 16, 2012 Tasmanian Country 7 Arnold's keen eye for cattle GOOD DAY: Arnold Smith, 92, is a regular at the Quoiba cattle yards. Pictures: CHRIS KIDD KAROLIN MacGREGOR A LOT has changed on Tasmania's North-West coast since Arnold Smith started farming there. Mr Smith, who turns 93 in June, lives on a small property at Sulphur Creek, just up the road from where he spent about 50 years farming at Penguin. Today he has about 10ha, but is still a regular visitor to the Quoiba sale. Mr Smith was born at Sheffield and moved with his family to a property they leased near Sulphur Creek when he was about 11. He attended the West Pine school, which at the time had about 25 students. The family went on to buy their own farm at Penguin. Mr Smith started working on the farm when he was about 14 and in those days horses were essential for transport and farm work. ''Everyone had horses back then,'' he recalled. ''There's nothing better than a good team of horses and we always had good horses. ''I can remember there were only three motor cars in the whole area when I was at school.'' Each year the family grew oats to feed their horses. At harvest time the oats were cut and stooked in the traditional way. Once the crop was dry enough, a team of chaff cutters would come through the district, cutting and bag- ging chaff ready for use throughout the year. Mr Smith met his wife Jean while they were at school. The pair were married for 60 years until Mrs Smith passed away about eight years ago. Potatoes were a major crop in those early days and each year they would grow about 12ha of spuds, Mr Smith said. The potatoes were sold into Sydney for the fresh market -- and at times it was a lucrative trade. ''If they had a failure on the main- land the prices were pretty good, but it just depended on supply and demand,'' he said. The family milked about 15 cows and supplied cream for butter production. They also ran some pigs and sheep. Mr Smith said that before motorised transport became available, stock for the various cattle sales was driven along the roads. ''There wasn't much traffic back then so we'd take cattle along the road either to Cooee or to Ulverstone,'' he said. Large cattle sales were common in the area during those days. ''There used to be a lot more cattle run in the back country then,'' he said. ''The Hampshire sale used to have 1000 cattle there sometimes and there were sales at places like Wilmot too. ''Now a lot of that country has been planted with trees, so the cattle numbers have gone down.'' Mr Smith said he drove his last mob of cattle into the saleyards in the early 1950s. Once more cars started using the roads, droving cattle to the sales was a problem and motorised transport took over, he said. Mr Smith got involved in the live- stock cartage business and transported stock all over the state for many years. He was also a stock buyer for export processing works Holmans, on what is now the Quoiba site near Spreyton. ''I enjoyed the carting work,'' he said. ''Nowadays everything is weighed, but in my days of buying cattle you had to work out what they weighed and back your judgment, because you were getting paid by the pound a lot of the time.'' Mr Smith said he still enjoyed his weekly trips to Quoiba and last week he attended the saleyard twice. ''It's a good day out, and I like to keep an eye on how things are going,'' he said. ''I still run a few cattle here, so I went to the store sale on Friday to buy some as well.'' Mr Smith said after Friday's sale he expected store cattle prices to be strong again this season. ''It was the dearest sale I've seen there,'' he said. ''We've had two good seasons in a row and I think we're a bit short on cattle -- that's why the prices are so high.'' News The biggest small tractor in the field. Own a bright future Some tractors just feel bigger than they really are. But when you re packed with heaps of powerful features, you can t blame them. New Holland s Boomer range boasts the very best of tractor technology in a compact frame. Take our Boomer 1000 -- small, powerful and loaded with features, it s got enough grunt to tackle some pretty big jobs. Then there s our T1500 - built tough, easy to operate and available with a huge range of options. Add in our big rebates and you ll discover that whatever you choose, you can t lose with New Holland. Visit thelandiscalling.com.au to see the full Boomer range and find the nearest dealer. *Terms and conditions apply. Contact your local dealership for full details. Now you can get a $2,500 rebate on the Boomer 1000, and $3,500 back on the T1500*.
March 8th 2012
March 22nd 2012