WORKING with cattle has been a lifelong passion for Rosemary Wenske, and she has a soft spot for the Murray Grey breed.
Mrs Wenske runs Murray Greys at a property at Mount Torrens that has been in her family since 1948.
“When I was 2.5 years old, my father Wilbur Bell bought the Mount Torrens property,” she said.
“Before that he was running cattle on land that is now Adelaide airport.
“In 1995, my dad was 85 and he said he was too old to run the property at Mount Torrens anymore, so my son Shane and I leased it from him. We leased it until 2000 when my father passed away at 90.”
Mr Bell ran a mixed property at Mount Torrens which included a dairy, as well as beef cattle and sheep, so Mrs Wenske has fond memories of working with a range of livestock from a young age.
“I’ve always loved working with stock,” Mrs Wenkse said.
“I had plans to go nursing but when I was 22 I married a Mallee farmer, so that didn’t happen.”
Mrs Wenske and her husband Barry run a mixed cropping and sheep property at Nildottie, along with the Hills property.
“My husband Barry has always been more interested in cropping, whereas I was always more into my stock,” she said.
“My dad always had cattle, he was a Hereford man through and through.
“When I went into Murray Greys, we always had friendly arguments about it, but before he passed away he said to me ‘I think you’ve done the right thing’.”
Mrs Wenske said Murray Greys tended to do well in the colder country of the Adelaide Hills and she also liked the breed for its ease of calving. She runs 36 to 40 Murray Grey cows at Mount Torrens, as well as sheep.
Mrs Wenske has been using Bottlesford bulls from Darren Koopman’s stud at Tungkillo for many years.
“He produces very good, very quiet and very placid bulls,” she said.
Mrs Wenske always aims for the top of market with both her lambs and cattle, so she is happy to buy at the higher-end with the bulls and rams she purchases.
With her sheep, Mrs Wenske sources Dohne rams from Babirra’s sale at Mount Pleasant and Poll Dorsets from Kreeside at Birdwood.
A key to getting the most out of her stock have been the number of improvements made to the Mount Torrens property since Mrs Wenske took it on.
“I resowed all the pastures when took on the property because it was overrun with Guildford grass that can ball up in cattle’s stomach and cause death,” she said.
“I also put a dam in every paddock.”
She also makes sure she gets adequate nutrition into the paddocks, putting out super every year and lime every couple of years, to counteract the acidic country.
Mrs Wenske is a regular seller at the Mount Pleasant weaner sales, and is offering 10-month-old steers and heifers this week.
She topped last year’s Mount Pleasant weaner sale in March, with her steers selling to $1340.
As well as producing great cattle results, Mrs Wenske also had exceptional prices with her lambs last year, selling at Naracoorte to $250.
“Never in my life did I think I’d get $250 for a 10-month-old lamb,” she said.
“For the last few years I’ve been using Dohnes crossed with Poll Dorsets.
“That way I can still turn off a good lamb, even if it’s not quite as good as a crossbred, and I’ve still got wool as well. With wool prices so good, it’s definitely worth it.”
The first Mount Pleasant weaner sale of 2019 is on tomorrow from 1pm.