Allora man turning a hobby into profit

14th November 2017 1:02 PM
AT THE SALE: Neil Wilson used his day off work to sell some of his herd, and pick up a few calves to fatten up. AT THE SALE: Neil Wilson used his day off work to sell some of his herd, and pick up a few calves to fatten up. Jonno Colfs

JUST over the hill from Allora, about halfway to Clifton at a place they call Tabletop, Neil Wilson has carved out his own little piece of farming life.

There, on a 60ha block, only a stone's throw from where he was born, Mr Wilson runs a little hobby farm to supplement his income.

Mr Wilson runs about 20 cows and calves and a limousin bull, and makes his way to the cattle sale in Warwick a few times every year to sell and, if the price is right, to buy.

He said farming was in his blood.

"I was born and bred on the farm,” he said.

"My dad grew grain and kept cattle and I've always had myself a little herd.

"Nothing too serious, just a hobby, but hopefully enough to turn a profit.”

Mr Wilson said he used the bull to service the cows and hung onto the calves, rearing them to the vealer stage.

"I try to sell them at about nine to 10 months old, hopefully at around 300kg,” he said.

"They're grass-fed.

"The cows have free range of the paddocks at home and I'll supplement that with oats in winter.”

A carpenter and cabinetmaker by trade, Mr Wilson has been working in maintenance at the Clifton Hospital for five years.

"I'd probably come to these sales more often if I didn't have to work,” Mr Wilson said.

"I enjoy coming in, seeing what the market's doing.

"It seems to be okay at the moment.

"The recent rains have driven prices up a bit.”

Mr Wilson sold a couple of his vealers and picked up a couple of calves to take home with him last week.

"I made a little bit out of the transaction,” he said.

"The two I sold were in a little better condition than the two I bought and they're also probably a little bigger than I would have preferred.

"They're about five months old I'd reckon, but I've only got them to help keep the grass down in a couple of paddocks beside my house, so they'll do fine.

"I'm pretty happy with the buy.”

Mr Wilson said keeping a small herd still meant a fair bit of work.

"There's still the worming and treating to be done about four times a year,” he said.

"That's a bit of a task - you either pay someone or do it yourself.

"I've got a decent set of yards so I usually take on the job myself. I love working on the farm. It's a lot of fun.”