By Lucy Ziesemer
It’s the key to a good business model- know what you’re offering to within an inch of its life and to the point where you have psychic abilities over what comes next. It’s part of what I love about breeding beef cattle. The attention we pay to what’s going on in our paddocks has crucial repercussions for our success as cattlemen and women. I may not be the best at remembering people’s names and certainly not at remembering birthdays, but I can recall facts and histories about cattle in our herd as easily as my own name. I can tell you which cows are leaders in the mob and which are followers. I can tell you which cows calved early, which cows did it tough through the winter, which cows are helicopter mums and which are grateful when weaning comes around.
In our business, we have our female herd at a point where we can predict, quite accurately, what traits progeny will display when certain bulls are introduced. I’m fortunate enough to be able to pregnancy scan our females using internal ultrasound technology. Some of the ladies have been kind enough to show me their unborn babies as a real, living fetus of the four legged variety. It’s pretty cool, I must say. Nerve wracking also when some of the favourites come in for their diagnosis, as we’re very strict on fertility. However I’d be lying if I said we’d never been lenient with our big bovine pets before.
Aussie farmers know their product like the proverbial back of their hand. One, because it pays to, and two, because they love to. It’s a real passion of mine to keep track of our cattle like I would my own family, because to be frank they feel like family too. I’m not sure how they couldn’t when so much time and commitment in all forms has gone into their well-being. Farming is a profession and a lifestyle in the one package. You can’t embrace one without the other, which is why there are so many old farming families on the land. It’s a deeply ingrained trait passed on from mothers and fathers to sons and daughters and it’s what keeps those same families going when the chips are down.
So just like I know the cow pictured was six months in calf I know my future family will inherit that same passion for the land and primary production, because even if we’re not directly involved in agriculture we’re all its beneficiaries.. and what’s not to love about that?