April 2012

April’s farm visit was to hilly Loch, to the Charolais and Red Angus stud run by Noelene and Geoff King. When “Hazel Downs” was purchased by them 14 years ago they commented that the farm required a great deal of time knocking into shape to be a productive beef cattle property.

Now it is capable of running a one head to the acre. This stocking rate also requires considerable time hand feeding through winter. Also, silage and hay are cut, with fertilizer applied annually on a rotational basis.

Noelene commenced her stud cattle interests in 1983. Geoff had Shorthorns and Noelene had Herefords. When they came together they decided to diversify to Charolais. Whilst the Shorthorns have been replaced with Red Angus, the Kings find the Hereford, Charolais and Red Angus cross exceptionally well.

In addition to breeding their ideal animal, over the years the Kings have nurtured cattle management in many young people who have come to their Loch farm. They enjoy teaching how to prepare and show stud cattle. Each year they take cattle to the Stud Beef Victoria Handlers Camp.

Noelene is Chair of the Royal Melbourne Show Beef Cattle Committee and Geoff is a member of the Victorian Charolais Committee. Both are life members of the Berwick & District Agricultural Society and members of the Dandenong Agricultural Society. In recognition of her enthusiasm, commitment and willingness to share knowledge, in 2010 Noelene was awarded an Order of Australia Medal for her involvement in agricultural shows and the promotion of youth in agriculture.

Geoff and Noelene particularly enjoyed showing WOF members how to train cattle for showing. They use a traditional and sensitive “whisperer” approach to gain the animals’ trust. It was great to have an interactive opportunity on this farm visit, with some of the WOF women having an enjoyable go at leading the cattle on display.

Women of all ages are welcome to join Women on Farms. The key criterion is an interest in farming and farming women. You do not have to be a farmer to participate. For more details on the next event contact secretary, Jenny Stephenson on 9700 0282 or visit our website at www.womenonfarms.org for the 2012 monthly program.

For enquiries about this article, contact: Mary Hughes, Ph. 03 5628 4195.