Benambra couple reminisce on five decades of high country sales

Benambra couple reminisce on five decades of high country sales

Mountain Calf Sales News
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The Andersons will offer 360 calves in next month's sales.

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VENDORS: Dianne and Clive Anderson, Delvin Park, Benambra, will offer 360 mixed-sex calves at Benambra and Omeo during the Mountain Calf Sales next week.

VENDORS: Dianne and Clive Anderson, Delvin Park, Benambra, will offer 360 mixed-sex calves at Benambra and Omeo during the Mountain Calf Sales next week.

Clive and Dianne Anderson have sold cattle at the annual Mountain Calf Sales for as long as they have been married.

The Benambra couple of 49 years will offer 360 mixed-sex calves at Benambra and Omeo in March following what they believe was one of their best seasons in two decades.

Their draft will include May and June 2020-drop calves, including 240 black cattle, and 120 Herefords which will be sold at Benambra on March 2.

"The majority of our cattle go into the sales at Omeo and Benambra but we retain some steers and a number of breeding heifers to restock," Mr Anderson said.

As a young bloke, Mr Anderson recalled only ever wanting to be a farmer.

After moving away from the area to attend boarding school at Bairnsdale, he returned in his early 20s to work for his father's transport business, Anderson's Transport, based at Benambra carting timer, livestock and general freight.

"They were good times but I always had an interest in farming and eventually I married a local girl and the rest was history," she said.

Mrs Anderson, a born and bred farmer, is also an integral part of the operation and spends "seven days a week on the farm with the men".

"I wouldn't know what to do with myself otherwise," she said.

Their son, Scott Anderson, works alongside his parents in managing the operation.

"We couldn't do without him ... he's an excellent farmer," she said.

Bred to perform

The Hereford calves are by Sugarloaf, Karoonda and Nunniong bulls while the Angus portion feature Alpine, Innisfail and Dunoon bloodlines.

But on the back of a buoyant spring and summer, farmers in the high country have faced significant seasonal challenges in the last few years, including a devastating drought which forced many breeders to destock their herds.

"We sold over 200 breeding cows during the drought, we sold them early while they had good condition," Mr Anderson said.

"At the same time we were selling stock, we were buying in three B-Double loads of hay to try and keep the feed up to the rest of our stock.

"How times have changed."

In November and December, the couple cut 1500 round bales of hay off their property, Delvin Park, and despite a fairly dry start to the year, dams are at three-quarters full.

Mr Anderson said their grass-fed cattle were also in Greenham's Never Ever Beef Program and were renowned for their doing ability in cool and warmer climates.

"Most of the cattle up here in the high country are vendor-bred and while we experience often severe winters, they also do well further north where the climate is warmer," he said.

"Given the strength of the cattle market at the moment, we are quietly confident ahead of next month's sales."

Hereford cattle to present in form

About 1500 cattle will be yarded at Benambra for the Hereford and Hereford/Shorthorn-cross sale.

Elders Omeo livestock agent David Hill said the sale would feature 1000 steers and 800 heifers.

"Season-wise Benambra has had one of the best spring breaks they have had in quite some time," Mr Hill said.

"Cattle haven't had a lot of hot weather on them and they are still yet to shed their winter coats but they will present very similarly to last year."

R & A Faithfull, Benambra, will offer 150 Hereford mixed-sex calves, as will R & S Cornall, Benambra, who will sell the same volume of Hereford calves.

WA Pendergast & Sons, Benambra, will consign 180 Hereford mixed-sex calves, while C and D Anderson will sell 150 Herefords.

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