Miner steps in buying heifers

Young producer steps up his enterprise with heifer buy


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A miner for half the month and a budding cattle breeder for the rest of the time, Ryan McNaughton combines two passions for a balance of life.

Irrewarra’s Ryan McNaughton has taken a further step in his fledgling cattle enterprise with the purchase of heifers at the Colac store sale.

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Buying heifers: Ryan McNaughton, Irrewarra, had his sites set on joinable heifers at Colac for his fledgling cattle operation.

Buying heifers: Ryan McNaughton, Irrewarra, had his sites set on joinable heifers at Colac for his fledgling cattle operation.

He selected two pens totaling 27 sold account an annual draft from Purrumbete South paying an average of $920 a head.

The average weight across the two pens was nearly 353 kilograms a head.

The Angus heifers were 15-16 months old and Coolana and Murdeduke blood.

Mr McNaughton said he was drawn to the pens because of their breeding and the Angus bloodlines.

He said the Angus had a better sale price when being turned off at the end.

“I’ve been fattening steers to bullocks, but now the next step was to get into breeding and getting a line of cattle going.

“I was looking for cattle that had the weight that I could join fairly quickly.

“They will go to an Angus bull in April for a December calving.

“I don’t really have a market picked out. I want to be able to run the steer portion on to heavy weights.

“I’ll keep the heifer portion to build up my numbers to around 35 head.”

Mr McNaughton said the small beef herd was not his main income – he is a fly-in-fly-out worker at the Olympic Dam mine near Roxby Downs, South Australia.

“I don’t want too many numbers. I want to be able to feed them well, I’m not greedy,” he said.

He bought the 44.5 hectare farm about eight years ago.

“I’m still learning and getting experience which will take some time. The farm was originally a dairy farm but had been used for beef when I bought it,” he said.

Mr McNaughton said the work as a diesel mechanic underground at Olympic Dam was a great way to get ahead quickly.

Roxby Downs is 560 kilometres north of Adelaide. The work is a 12-hour shift, two weeks/two weeks off.

“I love it. It’s a passion of mine working underground. It gets you ahead in life.”

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