Built on solid ground

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Brothers Will, Fred and Lewis Roe play a big part in assisting with cattle production at their parents, David and Sara, farm Benalong at Gingin.
Camera IconBrothers Will, Fred and Lewis Roe play a big part in assisting with cattle production at their parents, David and Sara, farm Benalong at Gingin. Credit: Bob Garnant

Highly-regarded Angus beef took its place on the menu recently at the post-inaugural luncheon of US President Donald Trump at Statuary Hall, Washington DC.

On the same day, on the other side of the world, three WA brothers were keen to share their admiration of the breed.

The brothers, Will, Lewis and Fred Roe, run 600 commercial Angus breeders with their parents, David and Sara — and all agree that the breed is hugely popular and has worldwide recognition from an extensive marketing push.

“As far as the breed’s husbandry is concerned, Angus cattle are very fertile and easy calving and that package comes with low maintenance,” Will said.

With the future in mind, Will has his sights firmly set on reinvesting in the family’s Gingin beef cattle enterprise.

As Mr Trump declared there would be new infrastructure under his leadership, so too Will had his thoughts on re-investing in the family beef cattle enterprise.

“During times of high cattle prices, it is important to consider building the business,” he said.

The family has a solid history of breeding Angus on their cattle and sheep farm, Benalong.

“Granddad (Bruce Roe) and his brother cleared the farm and ran some of the first Angus cattle in the district,” Will said.

“Dad took the farm, which has grown to 1903 arable hectares, to the next level and so it goes on.”

Watching over the Benalong Angus heifers, were brothers Lewis, Fred and Will Roe.
Camera IconWatching over the Benalong Angus heifers, were brothers Lewis, Fred and Will Roe. Credit: Bob Garnant

Today, the Benalong enterprise produces 18-month-old finished calves for the heavy supermarket trade. The Roe family also sell just under 100 weaner calves, averaging 315kg, a year to a feedlot.

“We aim to sell the majority of our calves to the local Gingin meatworks at 500kg off spring grass,” Will said.

Borrello Group director Michael Borrello said Benalong beef was a premium product that scored well in the rigorous Meat Standards Australia eating quality grading system.

“The Roe family take great care of their cattle, which reflects at the abattoir when Benalong carcases consistently grade out with high MSA scores,” he said.

David said he appreciated the help of his sons on the farm, who pitch in during peak times for calving, weaning, hand feeding and processing cattle.

“Lewis is finishing his last year semester of his university degree and Fred is just beginning his final year at school, so the boys come and go, but help is never far away,” he said.

“They all respect the historical significance of the Angus breed, both from Benalong’s farming beginnings and the breed’s worldwide influence. Last year, Will and Lewis attended the Ardcairnie Bull Sale and selected out a bull for the first time on their own.”

Benalong signage leeds up to the farm house.
Camera IconBenalong signage leeds up to the farm house. Credit: Bob Garnant

Will said he selected both on Estimated Breeding Values and visual appraisal.

“I recently attended a cattle school where EBVs were part of the curriculum,” he said.

“Dad has been recently paying particular attention to net feed efficiency as he researches artificial insemination bulls from the US.

“We mainly concentrate on EBV figures for calving ease, fertility, and 400-day weight, but the bull should have overall balanced figures, good feet and constitution.”

Will said he and his brothers were very interested in maintaining the family farm

“Cattle work is very rewarding,” he said.

“We all hope to have our turn in taking the farm to the next level, and feel we are well placed with Angus cattle, which will continue to create more opportunities in the long run.”

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