Calving happens twice a year at Somerton Park – Spring and Autumn.
Murray Grey cows are joined to Murray Grey Bulls for their first two calves and Charolaise Bulls from then onwards. This is because we have a self-replacing herd (only stud Sires-Bulls are purchased) so we need to breed Murray Grey Cows. Cows have one calf every year commencing at two years of age and must produce a calf annually to stay in the herd, they will have a minimum of seven and a maximum of nine calves in their breeding life.
Calves are yard weaned at six months of age giving their Dams a break for another six months before they have their next calf.
What is yard weaning? Once the calf is separated from its Dam the calves are placed within a holding paddock where they are fed wheat straw for 5-7 days. This allows them to settle into their new life without their mother and prevents them roaming and wearing themselves out looking for their mother. It is also another opportunity to get up close to them where their behaviour can be monitored and their natural nature observed. They are kept together in their own weaning group from then onwards which bonds them and helps achieve an acceptable temperament. The temperament is very important as it is directly tied to meat quality. If an animal is stressed the meat will be discoloured due to high Ph.
Murray Grey Heifers (females which have not had a calf) are retained providing they meet our minimum weight and size criteria for their first joining and all other calves are the product which is sold by Somerton Park Beef Direct.
Our livestock are never fed grain or any other grain by-product or manufactured feed substitute. They are GRASS FED living on what nature produces in a natural environment. There are times where nature does not provide enough and in these times we use wheat or barley straw only.
From the day they are born our calves get to know us and we identify them with their Dams and place a ring on the male calves which makes for quick and easy castration. They never know that they could have been a Bull!
We endeavour to make them completely satisfied with their environment and their health is of paramount importance to us. Without the use of some basic preventative measures their health would suffer and they would be prevented from being on a rising plain of nutrition which is necessary and fundamental to our production goals.