Charlie Arnott has a simple philosophy – happy cattle produce the best beef.
To do this, his cattle graze pastures rich in grass, forbs and legume species that are free of chemicals. The cattle are also handled with the greatest of care and respect, using animal husbandry second to none. “Quite simply our cattle are happy, and as a result, our beef is the healthiest, most nutritious, clean and sustainable beef you could feed your family,” says Mr Arnott.
The Arnott family have bred and grown Shorthorn cattle at ‘Hanaminno’, Boorowa for 45 years. Michael Arnott, the great, great grandson of William Arnott, the man who started the Famous Arnott’s Biscuit Company, decided after 8 years in the Homebush biscuit factory in Sydney to break with tradition, and given his strong family ties with the bush, moved to Boorowa after a few years in Southern Queensland. His son, Charlie Arnott, took over the reins in 1997.
“Our cattle spend all their lives on our property, without the use of chemicals, vaccinations or hormones. We use organic and Biodynamic principles to manage our soils, grasses, trees and animals, ensuring that all aspects of our environment are considered in a holistic fashion, giving due consideration to the intricate relationships and balance that exists between all living things within the boundaries of our property,” says Mr Arnott.
Five years ago the Arnott’s were introduced to the practice of weaning the cattle with EasyWean noserings, when Dick Richardson took on the management of the breeders. Mr Richardson, well known as the ‘Grazing Guru’ for his insights on grazing management and the relationship between animals, farmers and the ecology, has been using noserings to wean calves for over 20 years.
Weaning with EasyWean noserings is a stress-free weaning method that fits right in with the Arnott philosophy of ensuring happy cattle.
“We put the noserings in when the calves are eight months of age and leave them on their mothers for just 4 days. We then draft them off their mothers and walk them away with the few pregnancy-tested empty cows to another block, where we then remove the noserings,” explains Mr Richardson.
Mr Arnott says “normally when weaners are taken off their mothers for the first time, they are flighty and stressed and all they want to do is get back to Mum. But by doing a gradual weaning using EasyWean noserings, the calves are given enough time to gently break the bond with Mum so they can move on to become their own mob, graze happily and put on weight.”
“It is critical if you can retain weight gain while animals are being weaned. Traditionally one can expect a weaner to lose 15kgs during the weaning process. Our cattle put on 15kgs which in the end is a 30kg benefit,” said Mr Arnott.
Mr Richardson explains “When I first used noserings, I used to put the rings in for four weeks. I later learned by accident that, with this way of weaning, four days was long enough to wean calves and that fewer calves go back to suckling or wean with difficulty if weaned inside of a week. So now we put them in for only a week. Putting them in to a mob on the Thursday, we walk the calves away on the following Monday, removing the rings anytime later that week. The additional trekking and yarding for ring removal that the calves get during the week helps break them in to people, handling and moving off dogs. This also solves the only problem we have ever had using noserings – if the nosering is left in too long, and with the animal growing through the process, the ring gets very tight eventually piercing the septum.”
The pastures at Boorowa provide a diverse mix of lush, green feed perfect to ensure happy cattle at that time of year. It includes phalaris, cocksfoot and broad leafed plants such as chickory, plantain and Patterson’s curse, providing copper and other nutrients. Clover and a number of native species such as Red, Wallaby and Kangaroo grasses as well as wild trefoil and geranium are also present.
The meat is then sold under the brand “Charlie Arnott Natural Grass Fed Beef” which has recently achieved Pasturefed Cattle Assurance System accreditation – one of the few producers to have achieved this status in Australia.