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Snowy River Station - our story

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Superior Quality Produce Grown in its Natural Marine Environment Marine Greens   fromSnowy River Station

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W r W w Wa gfl w ffi w s e I E Autumn 2012 6 lllllillHltlilt ffillffi ill ww Wl Wl rl Wi 4f i r qaa L wt r r L w tr

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46 10 Of Our Best STOCK LAND November 22 2012 The meat man from Snowy River BEEF Andrew and Gabi French Snowy River Station Mixed farming on 2362ha Beef cattle Snowy River Station used in value adding meat business By GAIL THOMAS A Andrew French with some of the beef sausages they produce among a range of other products to value add to their mixed farming operation at Snowy River Station NDREW French is the man from Snowy River Station Consisting of nine different farms covering 2362 hectares the station boasts an array of diversified interests including 300 500 head of Poll Hereford cattle along with lamb poultry alpacas and growing specialty food products of samphire and beach bananas Both Andrew and his wife Gabi s families have a long history in cattle Gabi s family is from Mansfield and my great grandfather drove cattle for Kidman from Queensland to SA Andrew said Growing up in the country I always had to return to the bush after a short burst in the city I always wanted to be at the mouth of the Snowy River in Orbost which was originally called Snowy River Station so over the last few years we have been buying dilapidated stations and farms with a special feature returning them to their former glory then combining them to make Snowy River Station We also have another 297ha farm still operating near Port Stephens in NSW The couple always look at the potential of developing markets with a goal of tapping into the different natural environments on the various properties for example growing samphire and succulent beach bananas on saltdamaged country where most grasses will not grow and marketing them as specialty ingredients highly sought after by chefs and food lovers The stud Deddick Park in the heart of the Snowy which Andrew now owns was founded by Melbourne dentist Dr Joe Hoffman who pursued the fine breeding program for more than 35 years He bought semen from all over the world and introduced some of Australia s best bloodlines into the herd When Dr Hoffman became too sick to look after the farms they became run down during the drought the stock escaped into the Snowy River National Park and were in very poor condition We contacted the real estate agent looking after the sale of the properties and expressed interest in the stock Andrew said With the help of Tommy Ventry an experienced high country cattleman and some others the cattle were rounded up from the bush and moved down to our property on the beachfront at Corringle We then purchased the cattle from Hoffman and transferred the Deddick Park stud into my name We drenched the cattle fattened them up started to breed from this original herd and increased our numbers After purchasing the property the Frenchs destocked it for the first two years to allow the grasses to return They then put some cattle back onto it but only in small numbers Now the rain has returned the grass is growing like I have never seen with rich mountain grasses of many varieties springing up all over the place Andrew said The farm is mostly in a low val 1147378

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10 Of Our Best STOCK LAND November 22 2012 47 The Hereford cows and calves on farm at Snowy River Station ley which is very warm and where some high plains are brown and wind burnt in winter this farm is blooming with lush green grass growing over the fences The couple s son Eon French has completed an artificial insemination course so over the next few years Andrew will be relying on him to AI their stud stock with quality semen Over the next few years they will introduce new blood and build up numbers with mostly AI Semen is sourced from other studs and they sell their own when they have surplus Embryo freezing is a part of the stud as it allows more stud stock to be produced each year and in the future Stud embryos are fertilised with stud semen and then put into old dairy cows for production Andrew says this happens so the stud cow is not tied up being pregnant for nine months and you can produce many calves a year with the same genetics as the stud cattle they came from We will be running our first bull sales in 2013 as well as selling from the farm and at the Bairnsdale saleyards plus we will have a commercial herd for meat production Alpacas on the landscape of Snowy River Station Snowy River Station Samphire sausages Andrew s cattle are grass fed and mountain bred using the high country for the young steers to exercise and grow strong muscle that makes for good meat Stocking rates depend on the time of year another reason Andrew moves young cattle to the high country before winter He uses organic principles with chemical applications kept to a minimum The grow out plan means cattle are weaned at about four months then taken up to the high country grasses stay there for about 18 months and are then brought back down to the flat rich flood plains to fatten up with that soft tender fat before they go to market are sold direct or to breed We sell mostly to the fat sales for human consumption at the saleyards but sometimes we put some through the store sales to other farmers he said We sell a lot directly to the end consumer such as the Marlo Hotel that uses our meat in its beef dishes they also use our samphire and beach bananas on their menus The age the animals are processed depends on how the customer wants it however they mostly sell them from 24 36 months old They are killed at the Orbost abattoir and butchered by either of the two Orbost butcher shops The meat can be cut to suit customers requirements sausages are sold plain or with spices and further utilising the farm s produce Andrew value adds by also innovatively incorporating samphire into some of the beef sausages Along with the cattle the farm also runs alpacas and some sheep although those numbers are kept low due to wild dog problems The alpacas are used for wool and as guard for the sheep Andrew says their focus is to expand the markets in which they sell their produce to and also con Snowy River Beef branding sider export markets A large packing shed and the world s first Samphirery are also in the planning The Samphirery will be a restaurant specialising in samphire and beach banana dishes also using the station s meat lamb and poultry 1147428