A COUPLE in the midst of moving properties to pursue a passion for livestock are the winners of the 2018 Farm Weekly & WA Angus Breeders win 10 Angus heifers competition.
Having sold his half of the farm at Northam which has been in his family for four generations, Michael O’Neill and his wife Vicki will continue farming at Boyup Brook and it will now be with the addition of 10 ‘Southern Sensations’ Angus heifers and a brand new Can-Am black Angus motorbike.
The haul makes a prize pool valued at $25,400.
“You (expletive) beauty,” Mr O’Neill burst out when told the news, which was quickly followed by “Oops, sorry for swearing!”
“I am so happy like you wouldn’t believe.
“I can’t think what will happen when I tell the rest of the crew.”
The rest of the crew is the couple’s sons – 23-year-old Tom, a shearer and sheep pregnancy scanner and 21-year-old Callum, a boiler maker, who both hot foot it back to the farm at every opportunity.
“It’s Tom’s birthday today too you know.”
Ironically Mr O’Neill was on his way home from attending a bull sale at Narrogin in his role as a member of the Elders stud stock team when Farm Weekly caught up with him.
“We were going to buy some more cattle for the new property but now we won’t,” he said.
“And there is always room for another bike.”
Mr O’Neill said they made the decision to move from their 350 millimetre annual rainfall grainbelt property at Northam to the 600 acre holding 30 kilometres north of Boyup Brook, where they can expect almost double the rainfall at 700mm per annum.
“We much prefer livestock to cereal growing and we will take a number of our Ejanding blood Merino ewes, our Annagh Downs Suffolk and White Suffolk stud sheep, as well as our small herd of Hereford-Red Poll cattle with us,” he said.
The winning ticket was drawn by stalwarts of the Angus breed who are celebrating their 50th year as members of the WA Angus Society, John and Beth McKay.
The couple previously ran the super successful Wilson Downs Angus stud, Cunderdin.
They held the Australian record for the top-priced Angus bull for 23 years with Wilson Downs Zenith, which sold to New Zealand in 1981 for $40,000, three-quarter share and possession and Mr McKay is a former WA Angus Society chairman and Federal association delegate.
The 10 Angus heifers were sourced from the Kalgan-based herd of Jarrod and Sarah Carroll, Rayview Park Pty Ltd and the motorbike from Seadoo Sport & Leisure, Belmont, with both provided courtesy of Farm Weekly and WA Angus breeders.
The competition is in its 11th year and its popularity continues to grow, evidenced this year with more than 14,000 entries received which was 40 per cent more than last year’s record number.
WA Angus Society vice chairman Mark Hattingh said it was exciting for the breed to see the success of the competition.
“We are very grateful to Farm Weekly for making this possible,” Mr Hattingh said.
“I also want to thank member Bruce Campbell for his efforts in helping with the promotion and organisation and in particular to the 32 Angus breeders who contributed this year.
“Hopefully we’ll have even more next year.
“This is a great promotion for our breed at a very opportune time during springing heifer and bull selling season.”
Farm Weekly general manager Trevor Emery said his company was very happy to continue partnering with WA Angus breeders in a competition that was so keenly appreciated by Farm Weekly readers.
“You only have to look at the number of entries to see the level of interest and engagement from our readers and that is good for us and good for WA Angus,” Mr Emery said.
“We thought we had done something pretty special last year for the 10th anniversary with 10 heifers and a trip to the Sydney Royal Easter Show, but this year we took it to another level with the introduction of the Can-Am motorbike, especially painted black and with Angus logos and for help with this we acknowledge the team at Seadoo Sport & Leisure.”