by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
TAS Country : June 14th 2012
ne 15, 2012 17 with Greenham Tasmania managing director Peter Greenham. for the soft-fat gene and established a breeding program using embryo trans- fer from the cows that tested positive, using semen from soft-fat gene bulls. Heifers from this program were then introduced into the herd, meaning the proportion of soft-fat-gene Wagyus in the Hammonds' herd is far higher than normal. From a herd of 500 cows, the Hammonds have gradually expanded their operation and now run about 2400 breeders. Together with young stock and cattle they are finishing, the Ham- monds can have up to 7000 cattle on their properties. They also agist cattle on other properties when needed. The base for their operation is a 200ha property at Montagu in Tas- mania's far North-West. However, most of their land is on nearby Robbins Island, which is 100 square kilometres. Sitting just off the coast, Robbins Island has been in the family for 96 years. Mr Hammond's brother Keith and his wife Lisa now live on the island full-time and take care of day-to-day operations there. Mr Hammond said while they are gradually improv- ing pasture across the island, about 80 per cent of it is still native pastures. Cattle are moved across to the island by walking them through a shallow channel at low tide. The Hammonds also run cows on nearby Walker Island for about three months of the year. Last weekend the Hammonds and a group of volunteer horse riders moved 1000 cows from Robbins Island up to Walker Island. The cows will calve on Walker Island, then gradually make their way back across to Robbins Island in about three months. To ensure a year-round supply of cattle, the Hammonds' herd is split calving, with about 1100 calving in autumn and 1300 in spring. Mr Hammond said they ran most of the cow herd on Robbins Island and used the home property for specialised work such as finishing young stock and reproduction work. Steers from the Hammonds' oper- ation are supplied to the Australian Agricultural Company. They are turned off by the Ham- monds at about 18 months of age at feedlot entry weights of 430-440kg, then go on to a 500-day grain-feeding program. Mr Hammond said to successfully produce top-quality Wagyu beef there were several factors involved. He said having the right genetics was crucial, along with a good feeding program and maturity. ''To get good marbling you need to have mature animals,'' Mr Hammond said. ''Because the intramuscular fat is the last fat to be laid down, it takes time. That's why you won't see good-quality yearling Wagyu beef -- they need longer than that if you want that really good marbling. ''Marbling starts at about 14 months of age, but it doesn't fully develop until later.'' He said that to enable them to turn off cattle year-round, they had made changes to their man- agement practices on farm. These changes include making silage to help finish the cattle through winter when pasture growth rates slow down. He said they also ensured the cattle were supplied with trace element supplements to help their performance. Mr Hammond said while they enjoyed the cattle production side of things, being able now to follow their beef right through the supply chain and see chefs working with it and customers eating it was the ultimate reward. ''That's the part I really enjoy,'' he said. ''Before we'd say goodbye to the cattle as they went out the gate and that was it. ''Now we get to actually see people enjoying our beef and that's really satisfying, because that's what we're in the business for.''
June 7th 2012
June 21st 2012