Lake Cargelligo resident, Ula Fair, with her nine-year-old Poll Hereford bull Robellen, which tipped the scales at a whopping 1265 kilograms – was sold for $1875 (148.2 cents/kilogram) by Rawlinson and Brown agent, Gavin Brady and purchased by Paul Weidner, Ascot processors, Wodonga.
It was a day of mixed emotions at the Griffith prime cattle sale last Wednesday for Mrs Fair, a lake Cargelligo resident, who is in the process of dispersing a cattle herd she started 47 years ago.
Her beloved nine-year-old Poll Hereford bull Robellen –which tipped the scales at a whopping 1265 kilograms – was sold for $1875 (148.2 cents/kilogram) by Rawlinson and Brown agent, Gavin Brady and purchased by Paul Weidner, Ascot processors, Wodonga.
While Robellen (pictured with Mrs Fair) was a standout in the yards on the day, logistically it was no easy feat for Mrs Fair and her son Keith to get the placid bull to the yards.
The bull was far too large to fit in their race and crush so Keith implemented a resourceful temporary measure.
“In the gateway to Robellen’s paddock we dug a hole so the axles of the trailer he was to travel in were level with the ground and then brought in a load of dirt in to make a temporary ramp, we then got another ute to tow out the ute and trailer which was sunk to its axles with the bull aboard and a cow which had enticed him on board,” Keith said.
Mrs Fair bought Robellen from Poll Hereford breeders Rob and Helen Templeton, Naradhan when he was two-years-old.
It has been a slow process of weaning Mrs Fair from breeding Poll Herefords over the past decade, but with the departure of her last bull Robellen – who was still “in fit working order” with two of of his progeny to hit the ground in July – it now only leaves two vealers and two cows to be sold in October.
“It’s very sad to think about him becoming sausages or hamburgers – I haven’t been looking forward to this day,” Mrs Fair said.
While it was a sad prospect for Robellen, Mrs Fair had plenty of fond memories of her years in the cattle game.
In 1965 she was given a Shorthorn calf by her father to rear and soon after was given its mother.
She then began crossing Poll Hereford bulls over the cows which eventually led to her running a pure Poll Hereford herd.
Mrs Fair eventually built her numbers up to have 50 cows with calves on the ground year round.
In 1967 she sold vealers at her first sale at Griffith, and can recall when her 10-month-old vealers, which weighed from 180 to 250 kilograms used to top the market at $80 (or 40 pounds as Mrs Fair recalled).
When Mrs Fair was well into her 80’s she was still marking and tagging the calves herself.
“I used to stalk them from behind a tree and I would wait until I could approach the calves, tie them to a tree and mark and tag them in the paddock, their mothers never gave me any trouble,” she said.
Mrs Fair and her late husband Jim used to operate Tarilta Merino stud on their property near Lake Cargelligo, but after moving to Lake Cargelligo in 1990 the cattle were sent to Keith’s property.
Apart from a weekly visit from Mrs Fair the cattle received no special treatment with their diet consisting only of native grasses at Keith’s property, “Merrilyn”, in the Brewster district between Lake Cargelligo and Hillston.
With the winding down of her cattle herd Mrs Fair will now have more time to focus on her interests at Lake Cargelligo including Probus, the tourism centre and the Baptist church.
Mrs Fair, who celebrated her 91st birthday this week, has four children, 11 grandchildren and 21 great grandchildren to keep her busy.