Shamrock Vale at Kerry selected for conference delegate visit

DELEGATES taking part in the Australian Wagyu Association on the Gold Coast today visited the Scenic Rim for a farm tour ahead of Beef Week.

The 79 visitors from all over Australia descended on Shamrock Vale cattle station on Kerry Road as part of a road trip that will end in Rockhampton for Beef Week, which starts on Sunday.

The delegates were greeted by Mununjali elders Sue Blanco, Delores Paulson and Geraldine Page who presented the Welcome to Country.

The visitors split into four groups to explore various aspects of the farm including crops and sustainability, a four wheel drive tour of the property, cattle and the beekeeping facility where honey is produced for the export market.

The farm, run by father and son team Robert McVicker Senior and Junior, covers about 1820 hectares stretching from Darlington in the Kerry Valley to Laravale, including the addition of the recently purchased West Farm.

During a short bus ride on the property, Shamrock Vale office manager Tania Hill told delegates that the farm was self-sustained, producing silage feed including corn, sorghum, wheat and lucerne.

While things were tough in the last three months of the drought, Ms Hill said the recent rains had boosted production.

"This season we have put more than 3000 tonnes of silage into our silage pits, enough to last us for the next two to three years," she said.

"In February we had 300 millimetres of rain in four days. We usually produce 2500 bales of hay and this year we have almost doubled that."

The bus deposited delegates at an 18th century chapel that the McVicker family relocated from Bundaberg with a view to using it as a wedding venue.

There Mr McVickers Jr spoke to delegates about crop sustainability and how the farm had reduced energy costs using solar installation and more efficient irrigation practices.

Although off the power grid, some guests were served refreshments from a coffee van powered solely by solar panels and recycled laptop batteries.

Renowned Goshu Wagyu breeding consultant Tim Fitzsimmons took his group of delegates to view the herd and explained the bloodlines and breeding practices at the farm.

Mr McVicker Senior led the four-wheel drive tour of the property, which took in the two dams, each of which hold about 250 million litres of water and showed spring creek flowing in abundance after having been reduced to a trickle during the drought.

He explained that the farm normally had 1350 head of cattle but was now down to 850 with the Goshu Wagyu and commercial breeds including Black Angus and Santa Gertrudis.

"We sold off some of the commercial cattle during the long drought," he said.

The Goshu herd is based on Tajima genetics, arguably the most famous of all the Wagyu bloodlines originating in Japan. In 2016 beef from a beast sired by a Goshu bull was named the 'World's Best Steak' and visitors were introduced to one of his descendants at Shamrock Vale.