Yea butcher runs paddock to plate

Yea butcher runs paddock to plate

Stock and Land Beef

GARY Tainton, Killingworth, gets to see the end product of his beef operation, supplying meat to his own Yea Meat Supply.

GARY Tainton, Killingworth, gets to see the end product of his beef operation, supplying meat to his own butcher’s shop Yea Meat Supply.


Mr Tainton said it was rewarding to be able to run a paddock-to-plate operation.

“If you can produce an animal that you’re happy with here, then you know you’re doing a good job,” Mr Tainton said.

“This paddock-to-plate concept has been overused, so we’ve tried to promote that ours really is real, we show them [customers] our farm, and our cattle, to prove that this is what we do.”

Mr Tainton runs about 170 breeders on just over 200 hectares with his parents John and Lois, brother Wayne, and nine year-old son Jaxson.

The family cross Angus cows with Charolais bulls to produce vealer for their butcher shop in Yea, and a second in Wangaratta.

“We’re a bit different to a lot of people, because we’re not trying to produce cattle for the store sale,” he said.

“We’re solely focusing on producing a carcase for the shop.”

He said after tinkering with a few other breeds and genetics, they have finally found a system that works.

“When we were Angus/Angus, we had issues with the Angus heifer being too fat as a carcase, so about 10 years ago, we started using Charolais bulls to get more growth in our calves and lessen the issue of the fat heifers,” he said.

“I’ve got to be honest, our first couple of years [using Charolais bulls] were hard, we probably didn’t have the right Charolais bulls, so we leaned the heifers off, but we leaned the steers off too much, we nearly gave up because we couldn’t get the carcase right.”

He said they spoke to Ashwood Park Charolais manager Duncan Newcomen, who guaranteed that they would be able to put fat onto their steer calves.

“About eight years ago, we went to his bull sale and bought two bulls, and have since bought a Charolais cow, who was in-calf with a bull and had a bull calf at-foot, at the stud’s dispersal,” he said.

“We’re very fussy, but this definitely paid off for us.”

They also bought a bull from Airlie Charolais, Glenquarry NSW, a couple of years ago at the Southern Charolais Breeders Group Sale in Whittlesea (now held in Yea).

He said experimenting with these different genetics has been a big learning experience.

“We now know that we need the vealer type Charolais bull, with high growth and a positive fat scan,” he said.

He said vealers are turned off at about 380-400 kilograms, at about nine months of age, with about 18 sent to Gathercole’s abattoir in Wangaratta a fortnight.

Mr Tainton said working both on farm and at the butcher’s shop is a lot of work.

“We’re operating two businesses, we’ve got to keep our customers happy here, but we have to do the job right on the farm to get it right,” Mr Tainton said.

“But it’s worth it, we get customers who ring up and ask if it’s our own beef, and come and buy our meat for that reason.”

He said different times of the year are particularly busy, for example now, when the cows are calving.

“I was pulling out a calf at 8:30pm last night,” he said.

“We’re lucky our father is a retired farmer, so he helps us out, and goes around checking the cows for us while we’re at work.

“We enjoy the farming side of things, so we wouldn’t change how we do it.”


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