Young Hereford stud principal Narelle Forest has a simple message for other young people interested in a career in the seedstock industry – just give it a go.
Under a family succession plan, Narelle, 34, is transitioning to the management of the Rosstulla Poll Hereford stud after a 60-year reign under her parents, Rex and Trish Forrest.
Located in Beechworth, in northeast Victoria, the cattle enterprise dovetails with a Merino and crossbred sheep flock.
For the past 18 years Rex has mentored his daughter in all aspects of cattle breeding and stud management.
Narelle said keeping communication channels open between all parties was critical in succession planning.
“Trust is the biggest thing – they need to trust what you are doing and you have to trust them also,” she said.
“I’ve always had a say in what bulls we buy – I put my point across and we all discuss the negatives and positives – communication is open and transparent.”
She believes there are many opportunities for young women in the seedstock industry.
“It’s like anything really – just get in and have a go, see where it takes you.
“Don’t be scared to ask a question or have a go is my main advice.”
She has been busy refencing the property with laneways for ease of management.
During the 2023 Stock and Land Beef Week open day, Rosstulla offered 13 autumn and spring drop bulls priced from $6600 to $9350 and joined heifers from $3850 to $4400. A total of seven bulls and eight heifers were sold.
The split calving herd uses New Zealand genetics to produce outcross bulls for commercial herds from south to Ballarat and north to Tallangatta Valley.
“After weaning our heifers receive a 5-in-1, B12 and Multimin, are supplementary fed hay in the winter but apart from that they are run under commercial conditions,” Narelle said.
“As it gets quite cold here in winter, we grow the heifers out a bit longer before they are joined at 16 to 18 months of age.”
When it comes to classing the heifers, it is a team effort by Rex and Narelle.
“We like a nice soft female with milk and a good coat. Any bigger framed females are joined to a smaller, thicker bull to moderate their size,” she said.
“If the female loses her calf because of presentation, she has another chance, but if she is a bad mother she is culled.
“Docility is important to us as a lot of our clientele are the older generation.”
Narelle manages 110 stud and commercial cows, and turns off the steers through the regional store sales.
She plans to transition the herd wholly to an autumn calving and aims to “breed the best bulls I can.”
The advantages of the Hereford temperament were reinforced to Narelle while showing steers of many different breeds at high school.
“I love the Hereford docility, doing ability, muscle, and milking ability.”