Business Rural Autumn 2021

40 | A lifelong passion for genetics Richard Loader A t sixteen years of age, Southland farmer Katherine McCallum was given two of her grandfather’s Angus stud heifers, starting her on a lifelong passion for genetics and breed- ing quality cows. Now farming on her parents’ old Balfour farm, Rockley, Katherine and her husband Phil own the Rockley Angus Stud and host an on-farm yearling bull sale every October through a Helmsman Auction. Katherine says her passion is very much focused on genetics, particularly sharing knowl- edge with young people so that they can learn about the beef industry. “I’m passionate about people gaining knowl- edge about bull buying. You know, knowledge is power. It’s about statistics, pedigrees and infor- mation about the bulls parents so young people can make well informed decisions for their own breeding programmes.” While Katherine and Phil’s goal is to eventu- ally offer thirty Rockley Angus yearlings for sale, twenty has been the magic number for the last few years. “Our market is heifer mating and ease of calv- ing. We record a lot of traits during calving like birth weight, the cows temperament, udder score, and ease of calving. We make sure the yearling bulls are semen tested, muscle scanned and vaccinated for BVD prior to auction. So they are effectively ready to go out with heifers as soon as the purchaser has them on farm.” The eldest of four children growing up on the 320 hectare flat to rolling to hilly farm in Balfour, Katherine also had an interest in children and gained a Bachelor of Education degree after leav- ing school. MEAT & WOOL » Rockley Angus: Katherine & Phil McCallum After two years teaching in Te Anau, Katherine was awarded a six-week scholarship through the Angus New Zealand’s Youth Charitable Trust, now known as Generation Angus, to visit farms in New South Wales and Queensland. An experience that included participating in a major muster, Katherine gained valuable insights in different approaches to farming. During this time Phil’s parents, Lloyd and Kathy McCallum had purchased a dairy grazing block in Mossburn, engaging Katherine and Phil as manager/operators. “We used that property for sheep, beef trading and dairy winter grazing and overtime gained a 25% share in the farm,’ says Katherine. In 2013, after five years in Mossburn, the op- portunity arose to buy Rockley in partnership with Phil’s parents and Mossburn was sold. “Phil and I made all the day-to-day decisions on the farm, but we consulted with Phil’s parents quite a bit. At the end of last financial year an opportunity arose for Phil and me to go 100% ownership on Rockley as well as a dairy unit in Mandeville.” The farm is now home to 94 stud cows and a flock of 1500 Tefron ewes including 300 hoggets, along with R1 and R2 young dairy stock. While Phil oversees management of Rockley and the dairy unit, which has a contract milker on it, Katherine looks after farm administration and bookwork. “I’m passionate about people gaining knowledge about bull buying. You know, knowledge is power. It’s about statistics, pedigrees and information about the bulls parents so young people can make well informed decisions for their own breeding programmes.” • to page 41 TEFRoms give you the ability to lamb as hoggets. They are earlymaturing, able to scan consistently over 130%, their extramilking gives the ability to kill over 25%of hogget lambs o mum, then they recover quickly to lamb well as two tooths, scanning 185-190%. Suftex - Interbred for an excellent marker, high growth rate and yielding over 56% in the Alliancemeat yield. Members of Premier Suftex Group. 800 fully recorded ewes. $15.73 above average per ewe lambing $5.32 above average per lamb born Email: ewl.balfouro O ce: 03 201 6386 Proudly supporting Phil & Kath McCallum at Rockley Angus Phil McCallum weighs a new born calf. Cows are checked daily during calving. Calves are tagged, weighed and their DNA is collected along with the dam’s temperament and udder score.