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Lowline Angus stars of small acreage

PERFECT FIT: Hobby farmers John and Lyn Dillon of Wyrallah prefer working with the lowline angus breed.
PERFECT FIT: Hobby farmers John and Lyn Dillon of Wyrallah prefer working with the lowline angus breed. Jamie Brown

FOR the past two decades John and Lyn Dillon have made the most of their eight hectares at Wyrallah.

A mix of flats and rise with town water, as well as an irrigation licence, they make the most of their humble hobby farm, once part of the much larger Tulk family farm.

We learnt our lesson with the big cattle. The bull wasn't happy with the small amount of cows and jumped two fences to get into the neighbour's property.

Here they grow vegetables, harvest their own eggs, raise the odd porker and, until recently, grew meat chooks.

But after playing around with large cattle - both dairy and beef - the active duo settled on a miniature variety to satisfy their bovine urges.

Lowline angus makes for an easily handled beast, even grandchildren can work with.

"We learnt our lesson with the big cattle," John said.

"The bull wasn't happy with the small amount of cows and jumped two fences to get into the neighbour's property.

"He only broke the top wire and I got him home the same way, using a stock whip."

Lyn grew up on a Booyong dairy farm, as a member of the Beddoes family, so she understands the life of an agriculturalist, but John admits he is a "city farmer".

And yet this Lismore-born fellow, trained as a slaughterman, has always had a passion for acreage.

The 8ha is a good compromise for the pair and after a visit to television personality Don Burke's south coast property to see his herd of lowline angus, they were convinced the breed was right for them.

"You can run three-quarters as many cattle again, as you would with normal sized animals," Lyn said.

"So where we had 10 brangus cattle before we now have 17 lowliners. And they're never thin."

Indeed the roly-poly beasts are good meat producers but Lyn reckons the saleyards go too much on weight with this breed and fail to notice their excellent carcase.

"They only have short legs but they're still a big beast," she says.

Most importantly for John and Lyn, these cattle never have trouble calving - they've never had to call out the vet - and their grandchildren can drench the herd and work them through the small crush.

What the pair earns from the small herd pays the rates, while still providing enough meat to fill their freezer.

If they were into genetic selection, they could possibly earn more but the complexity escalates sharply from a hobby.

"We're just not into that," Lyn said.

In fact, the couple is ready to move off the idyllic property and travel Australia in a caravan, so the "farm" is for sale.

Will they yearn for the land once they retire from retirement? Only time will tell!

Topics:  acreage angus