ROELANDS farmer Warren Edwards used to sell his cattle as babies, but lately they've gone on the boats. "Prices have been better for boat steers recently and they usually go as two-year-olds, but it depends on the market at the time and I rely on Errol Gardiner's judgement," Warren said at a recent Elders Brunswick store sale. At the sale, he bought 10 smaller Friesian steers at $206 and another 11 bigger poddies at $222 to join the 200-head mainly Friesian-Hereford herd he runs at Roelands. He puts Murray Grey bulls over the females. He has been 10 years in beef cattle, having run a dairy before that and presently runs his operation on 223 hectares (550acres) at Roelands, plus another 40ha (100ac) at Collie. Warren is in the third generation of Edwards in the district. His grandfather Charlie was one of Waterloo's pioneers when he came from Victoria to start farming. His son Percy < Warren's dad < is now 94 and living in Eaton. "He still manages well," Warren said. For his cattle each year, Warren cuts about 15ha of meadow hay, comprising clover and rye. He topdresses his paddocks with 5:1 super-potash at 80kg/ha and, for a bit of diversification, he also has a 40ha plantation of Tasmanian bluegums. The trees require good rainfall, so his 889mm to 1016mm (35 to 40in) annual average is ideal for those thirsty bluegums.