Early sale pays for Moyne falls

Moyne Falls manager Jim Wakfer with some of last Friday’s draft, which sold to $724 for steers, averaging $654, while the heifers sold to $535, av $48.THE decision to abandon their twice-a-year on-property sale at Macarthur in favour of selling at the monthly Warrnambool store sale has paid dividends, according to Moyne Falls manager Jim Wakfer.

He said asking buyers to travel to the Macarthur farm for a relatively small number of cattle compared with the attraction of what is on offer at Warrnambool, one of the larger regular store markets in southern Australia, may have restricted competition for their well-bred but generally young Angus calves.

“We have competition here,” said Mr Wakfer at last Friday’s sale at Warrnambool.

“It has worked very well selling here and we’re happy with the result.”

Last Friday week’s draft of 283 Moyne Falls steers sold to $724 to average $654, while 161 heifers sold to $535, av $485.

Mr Wakfer said the draft had been sold a month early due to short-term management complications caused by the giant 140-tower Macarthur windfarm being constructed on Moyne Falls and two adjoining farms.

The $1b project by AGL and Meridian is the largest wind farm in the Southern Hemisphere and will generate enough energy power the equivalent of 220,000 average Victorian homes. It is due for completion in 2013.

“We’ve been managing around the construction of the towers and the roads that service them,” Mr Wakfer said.

The 3000-cow Moyne Falls Angus herd, owned by the Robertson family, is one of the largest herds in southern Australia and demands a sire battery of about 100 bulls.

They started breeding their own bulls in the early 80s with AI sires over selected commercial cows.

Right now, they’re strong on Vermont, Ardrossan and selected NZ bloodlines.

The best AI heifers are retained as future breeders.

“I suppose you could say we’re almost a stud,” Mr Wakfer said.

While they have been managing the herd around the wind-farm construction phase, the access roads during the winter just past have been a God-send.

Mr Wakfer said the calves did it hard during the recent wet and cold winter and the roads meant they were able to get hay to them via the telescopic long arm of a Manitou.

The wet winter has also meant many of the paddocks on the 4860-hectare prroperty have become badly pugged.

So employing the innovative approach to solving problems and flatten the paddocks again, they have constructed a six-tonne, four-metre-wide roller using concrete-filled truck tyres, an axle and reinforcing rods.

“We’re going to try it out soon but we’ll need to get the timing right,” Mr Wakfer said.

“If we use it when the soil moisture is just right, we should be able to pull it with a small tractor.”

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