Dairy farmers take on beef

Dairy farmers take on beef


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THERE are so many breeds of cattle on Jon, Barbara, and son Wayne Luke’s 60-hectare property in Glen Alvie, that the family has almost lost count.

THERE are so many breeds of cattle on Jon, Barbara, and son Wayne Luke’s 60-hectare property in Glen Alvie, that the family has almost lost count.

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They run 36 Angus, Charolais, Speckle Park, Pinzgauer, Hereford, Shorthorn, Brahman, British White, Limousin, and Ayrshire cows, the majority of which come from dairy cows, and all of which are joined to a Limousin bull.

“We ran a small dairy operation up until about four years ago, when I got sick, and Barbara and Wayne had to make the decision to sell the cows,” Jon said.

“It was just too much to manage.”

Wayne said after the dairy cows had been sold, they looked to buy in some beef cattle.

“After Dad came back, and the cows were gone, I was driving into Wonthaggi one day, and saw a guy who lived on the corner, and had a paddock full of bullocks, and I spotted a British White cross heifer in the paddock,” Wayne said.

“After a couple of weeks of driving past it, I went over and asked if I could buy it off him and he said yes.”

He said not long after, they bought a Speckle Park cow to add to the herd, which is where their love of that breed began.

“We were so impressed with the Speckle Parks, that my partner Renee Reiter and I made the decision to invest in more of them, so we bought an additional six,” he said.

He said since then, he’s just been building these numbers up.

“We’ve got a menagerie of breeds, if I see a breed I like, I’ll buy it,” he said.

He said there was a calf at foot of the first Speckle Park cow he bought, that influenced him to buy a Limousin bull.

“When I got my first Speckle Park, I just fell in love with it, and the bloke I bought it off had a Limousin calf on it, and it was an absolute ripper,” he said.

“We took it home and it weighed about 400 kilograms when we sold him, so we got the cow in-calf with a Limousin again, and every year since, she’s done a great job.”

He said they initially borrowed a Limousin bull from a friend, before buying a bull themselves from Debonair Limousin stud, Trafalgar.

“My mate, Adam Williams from West Creek, bought his first bull from Debonair, and we borrowed him when we first started for our first lot of joining,” he said.

“Then the year after, we went and visited the property, and picked one out, and I felt like I had a bit of a connection with him, which made my decision easier to pick him out.”

Wayne Luke, Glen Alvie

He said the bull breeds very good vealers, which they sell at fat sales at Pakenham, up to five times a year.

“They’ve got good muscle definition, they weigh more when you sell them, they’re just good, solid animals,” he said.

“At the end of the day it doesn’t matter what breed of cow you have, if you throw a Limo bull over them, you’re sure to get a good calf.”

He said he loves all of the different colours of the cows, and has names for each of them because they all look different and can be easily told apart.

“Given they come from a Limo bull, you’d think they’d come out black, but they all come out different colours,” he said.

“Each cow’s got its own name, it’s more personal that way.”

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