Once ‘seachangers’ went to the coast. People are still chasing lifestyle changes, away from city confines and pressures, and many are heading into provincial areas where the weather is good, scenery is great and land prices are cheaper than the coast.
Jeanette Stebbins, originally from Melbourne, and a frustrated farmer for many years, has always kept her eyes and ears open. She could see where ostrich and emu production was heading and when, in 1992, son Chris said he wanted to go farming, Jeanette suggested Lowline cattle,but that they do it ‘properly’. From their 12 acre property near Bendigo in Central Victoria, Jeanette had been noticing:
1. lifestyle changes – large farms being broken up into smaller farmlets – you can carry approximately 10 Lowline to 6 British breed;
2. eating habits were changing so small cuts of tender, tasty beef were ideal;
3. quiet Lowline cattle were suited to families who just wanted an
animal to eat the grass on their lifestyle change acreage – birthing is easy.
The Stebbins decided to buy 2 Lowline cows in calf, the first in Victoria, from a Dept of Ag. Research Farm at Trangie, west of Dubbo, NSW, where they were investigating genetics that would produce Highline and Lowline cattle, from imported Black Angus. The whole beef industry was going ‘big’ – Jeanette decided to go small and was proved right. Today there is a ‘big’ demand for Lowline bulls to produce smaller animals and fewer birthing problems.
Son Chris moved to a job in the Wimmera but Jeanette was away…..she ran the stud singlehanded, learning as she went – Artificial Insemmination and Embryo Transplant to improve the genetics of the Stud herd. She used word of mouth, Field Days and every possible magazine to market her product – stock and embryos.
Discovering American ‘Farm & Ranch’ magazine, she contacted them and they invited her to write a diary for a month – with a huge response. www.ardrossanlowline.com.au was launched in October last year and has had some 6000 hits.
Service is incredibly important says Jeanette. She treats clients the way she would wish to be treated, offering help with all aspects of production and marketing. Ardrossan now exports round the world. Three lots have gone to China and Jeanette’s dream is to break into Japan – but the protocol is demanding she says, 50 visits before they’ll say hello!
Jeanette’s biggest hurdle she says was doing everything herself but she is a strong person and she got there, weathering along the way many disparaging comments about her small animals at early Field Days. Jeanette’s husband has now sold his insurance business and they are moving to a larger property… yes their current property has been broken into four! Jeanette’s advice to people about to ‘start up’ – you are only limited by your imagination!
Another aspect of Ardrossan’s program is to encourage young people to either enter or stay in primary production. Lowline cows in calf are lent to schools that have an Ag. Course and the calves become the property of the school to use in that course. Kings College in Warrnambool has 2 cows in calf.