Written by Sandra Bogun of Sandrian Park Miniature Herefords
There are many benefits to belonging to the Australian Miniature Hereford Breeders Network, but the standouts for me is the continuous learning and support that the members give each other. There is no such thing as a silly question and the wealth of knowledge in the group that is willingly shared is invaluable.
Additionally, the support to be the best breeder of Miniature Herefords possible is huge, including a bull register to allow for succession planning and working together to support the movement of animals around the country to increase genetic diversity.
Sandrian Park were recently recipients of such amazing support that we were able to increase our breeding herd with six new heifers.
Putting feelers out for heifers lead to a purchase of 3 in NSW and 3 in Southern Victoria. Then came the “how do we get them” conversation. A commercial carrier was going to be in the vicinity of $1,000 each for freight so the great road trip was born. Fortunately, we already had a great stock crate and trailer capable of taking them all. Quickly organised a farm sitter, loaded up the Ute and we were off.
We took five days to get to Victoria adding in a weekend with friends near Wollongong on the way before being very warmly welcomed by Alison and Brian at Winswood and Dianne from Shady Creek joined us for lunch. The afternoon was spent walking their property looking at and talking cows, cows and more cows. Bliss.
For us Queenslanders it was a chilly start just on dawn the next morning to get 3 girls loaded and on the road. With a nice layer of hay in the crate and plenty of room they took the opportunity to have a lie down from most of the journey and a little over 9 hours later with a couple of rest stops on the way we were at Fiddlewood Farm in NSW and surrounded by dogs, cats, a variety of fowl and yet more cute as a button cows.
Susan generously put us up for 2 nights so the heifers could get to know each other and have a good rest before the next part of the journey. Another chilly start to the day and all six girls loaded beautifully. They got to see the outskirts of Sydney and experience their first tunnel. Another couple of rest stops just to give the heifers a break and we pulled into Grafton Sale Yards shortly after 4pm. The short ramp and covered sheep yards were ideal for our girls and they were soon settled with water and hay. We had planned to pitch a tent at the sale yards but it was quite literally a swamp and with the local motel full we opted for sleeping in the car – it doubled as security and was surprisingly comfortable.
The last day we hit the road by 6am and it was a short day for the girls, just 4 hours later they were tucking in to some nice green grass and enjoying the sunny day.
We covered nearly 4,000km, were away for 8 days and we spent in the vicinity of 2k on the trip (accommodation included) which certainly was much easier on the pocket but it was incredibly tiring. I am in awe of the guys who do that for a living and certainly understand why it costs so much to get animals moved (especially with the cost of diesel going through the roof).
We are indebted to Alison, Brian, Susan and Ross for their hospitality and know that without the support of the Network this trip just could not have happened.