Fire's silver lining for Berringama bullock fattener

Fire's silver lining for Berringama bullock fattener

EUROA RESTOCKER: Dev and Thaya Carman were at Euroa, restocking to build back their herd, after a year of rebuilding from fire damage in 2020.

EUROA RESTOCKER: Dev and Thaya Carman were at Euroa, restocking to build back their herd, after a year of rebuilding from fire damage in 2020.

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It's been 12 months of rebuilding, for one Berringama bullock fattener.

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Re-fencing took most of Murray Valley bullock fattener Dev Carman's time last year, after fires ripped through his Berringama property Wyreema.

The fires meant he couldn't grow out his usual complement of 300 steers, selling about 280 bullocks to JBS in December.

But Mr Carman, who also runs a fertiliser contracting business, said he was philosophical about the January fires.

"We were burned out last year, completely burned out," he said.

"We resowed half the property last year because it just wasn't going to grow anything this year.

"It was just cremated, it was very hot at home.

"The fires destroyed all the fences but we were lucky because we had sold all our cattle in December and had no stock at the time.

"We were two days off going back to buy 270 steers."

The fire on the 160-hectare property was bad, but he said there was a silver lining.

"Our fences are better than what they were, our pastures will be better, but it was difficult and cost us most of last year's income, so we started on a bit of a low base," he said.

"But anyway, we'll get back into it."

He said he, and wife Thaya, selected quality steers, with a preference for Mawarra-blood Herefords.

"We are not set on that; it's the same with Angus," he said.

"Good solid, thick calves that will do and turn into bullocks, steers that can put on 300 kilograms in 12 months."

The steers were grass-fed, with some occasional supplementary feeding of hay.

He said he didn't do a lot with his ryegrass and clover pastures, "just plenty of fertiliser".

"I put on between 160-300kg a hectare of single superphosphate," he said.

The property would be limed this year as well.

"We have put in a heap more lime at the moment, the whole property will end up limed this year," he said.

"The thinking has changed on lime in the last few years.

"We see that with our other clients, you have to get your pH right, so your grass grows better."

The Carmans bought 60 steers at Euroa's weaner sale last month, which would go onto ryegrass and clover pastures.

"We went to the Wodonga sale, there were some very good quality steers, but they were too big for what we wanted," he said.

"At Euroa, there were quite a few steers we liked.

"We just buy steers at 300-350kg and sell them as bullocks, between 550-650kg, before Christmas."

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