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TAS Country : January 3rd 2013
10 Friday, Janu Farm Feature Woodbourn Woodbourn and the Wallaces are synonymous with Angus cattle and Murray Greys, and their pursuit of excellence makes them standout breeders, writes BRUCE MONTGOMERY STUDY AT THE STUD: Janet and Charles Wallace have done their homework to build up their championship herd at Woodbourn. Pictures: CHRIS CRERAR The breeding ins IT was the fishing that first attracted Charles Wallace's father, Peter, to Tasmania from Victoria in the days before the war. Then when he was invalided out during the war and had to contemplate a new life, he turned naturally to northern Tasmania. He bought the 320ha Woodbourn property at Cressy, which is where Charles, wife Janet and son-in-law Lauchie Cole farm today. Peter Wallace also bought Iveridge at Blackwood Creek, where Charles' late brother David farmed and where his nephew Tim Wallace farms today. Charles' other brother, Hamish, fea- tured in a previous Australian Year of the Farmer profile. He and wife Georgina run Trefusis at Ross. Today, Woodbourn and the Wallaces are synonymous with Angus cattle, which were the original breed on the property, and their Murray Greys, which they have developed since taking over the farm more than 40 years ago. At their annual sales (Angus in April and Murray Greys in May), their stud cattle for each breed attract commercial breeders from across the country. The Wallaces do not use a lot of artificial insemination. They pro- duce or buy in the bulls to do the job --- bulls like Texas Dynamite, which set them back $30,000 a couple of years ago but which is paying them back in spades. ''That's what you have to do when commercial breeders are paying you between $5000 and $10,000 for a bull to use in their herd. You have to lift your sights a bit,'' Charles says. According to Charles, you only have to look at Texas Dynamite to know he's the real deal. In their selection, Charles and Janet are driven greatly by struc- ture and Breedplan figures. Charles was first attracted to grey cattle when he was a jackeroo at Bill Reed's Parknook property in the 1960s. In 1938 Reed crossed an Angus bull with a white Shorthorn milking cow to produce a grey offspring. He liked its characteristics. He built up a small herd of these grey crossbreeds and put a grey bull over them. The cattle outperformed his Angus cattle in carcass and steer trials so Reed switched to the greys, then called Tasmanian Greys. Similar cattle, Murray Greys, were being bred along the Murray River. Charles was impressed with the Tasmanian Grey stock at Parknook. ''They were outstanding in how well they milked and how quiet they were,'' he says. ''They were also winning taste-testing competitions. People like the beef.'' Back at Woodbourn with his father, Charles introduced the greys and took a leadership role in the grey breeders' society. In 1981, under his leadership, the Tasmanian Greys and the Murray Greys became one, the amalgamation opening up global markets. The following year was a milestone. He sold eight Woodbourn Murray Grey heifers and a bull, Woodbourn Poseidon, to British horse breeder and cattleman Souren Vanian for his Derisley Wood stud at Newmarket in England. In 1983 Woodbourn sold another three females and a bull, Woodbourn Echo, to Vanian for $40,000. The cows included Woodbourn Heather 6, which he had sold for $18,000 and which went on to become grand champion at the English Royal Show. Charles followed up by selling Vanion a three-quarter share in the young bull Woodbourn Thor for $60,000. Thor had been the junior champion at the 1982 Launceston Show and was judged supreme champion Murray Grey exhibit at the English Royal Show and the Royal Norfolk Show and won Grand Champion twice in a row. In a separate deal, Charles sold Woodbourn Hercules to Scottish breeder Robert Graham for $9000. When his stud was dispersed the following year, Graham resold Hercules for a British breed record of about $40,000. Woodbourn has since sold semen rights to breeders in North America, New Zealand and Cuba. The Wallaces redeveloped the Woodbourn Angus stud in 1989 when Tasmania's only major Japanese- owned feedlot stipulated it would take only Angus cattle. Woodbourn bought the best Angus breeding stock when the Gatenby family's Creekton stud was dispersed. Through shrewd pur- chases like Texas Dynamite, the Wallaces have enhanced the Wood- bourn Angus reputation so that it now matches that for its Murray Greys. The Wallaces are of the old school. They like to see what they are buying so they always personally inspect new bulls before they buy. ''Each bull has to have a sound body,'' Charles says. ''It's what I look for and I know it is what people look for when they buy from me. Once you have the phenotype (characteristics) right, then you can look at the Breed- plan figures and make up your mind.'' Murray Grey beef is in demand. Greenham Tasmanian managing di- rector Peter Greenham says he is always looking for Woodbourn Mur- ray Grey beef. ''The cattle have a good tempera- ment. Their meat marbles very well. We like it,'' he says.
December 20th 2012
January 10th 2013