SUCCESSFUL businesses often have humble beginnings and the same is true of Dennis Ginn’s interest in breeding high quality Angus cattle on his spectacularly beautiful Yancowinna property, above the Bunurong coastal cliffs, at Inverloch.
As a youngster, living with his parents in Cuttriss Street, Inverloch, Dennis used to make a bit of pocket money helping the late Frank McGarvey milk his cows just on the edge of town.
It started a love affair for working with cattle and a passion for animal welfare that led on to 30 years breeding and developing the quality of the Angus breed, both locally and nationally.
But all that comes to an end, the Angus stud side of it that is, with a total dispersal and spring bull sale on Monday, October 22 at 10am at the property, 700 Inverloch-Cape Paterson Road, Inverloch.
Inspection is on Sunday, October 21 from 3pm.
It’s an event that is already attracting a lot of interest, especially in Gippsland, but also further afield.
“There are actually three Victorian Angus studs holding dispersal sales around the same time. I’m not sure why they are having their sales but in our case it’s purely a matter of my health,” said Dennis last week.
“It’s no secret that I’ve got Parkinson’s, which is progressive disease.
“I was diagnosed with it 12 years ago, but I don’t let it stop me. I keep turning up.
“Plus, I want to be able to spend more time with my family.”
Dennis will still run a commercial beef operation on the property at Inverloch, which is superbly set up for growing pasture and high-quality stock, featuring a system for irrigation using recycled water from South Gippsland Water’s waste water treatment process.
“It all started with helping to milk Frank McGarvey’s cows. I loved working with animals. Later I agisted a bit of land and with Robin Bowman (another local real estate agent), we got a dozen cattle and fattened them for market and I got the bug from there.
“And it was a matter of trying to breed better and better stock after that, initially for ourselves and then breeding Angus seed stock for commercial beef operations, that would do a lot to raise their carcass quality as well.
“We’ve been more involved in the evaluation of the carcass and the quality of the beef produced, not so much on raising show cattle, although I’m not against that, we’re interested in superior type as well.
“The key aspects we were looking at was, number one, fertility. You haven’t got much if you haven’t got that. By phenotypic evaluation finding the best traits and marrying that with breeding values using breeding indexes and the like.
“That’s why breeding cattle appeals to business people as well as farmers. If you can measure it, you can manage it.
“It’s a long process when you are evaluating carcass quality as the main guide to breeding. It’s nine months from conception til you get them on the ground, then 12 to 18 months before you can evaluate the carcass quality.
“But the best place to do that is by chiller assessment, to see if the marbling, the inner muscular fat, is how you want it. The other way to evaluate it, of course, is taste.
“That’s what we are looking for. Not only fertility, growth rates, type and all the rest but how well the product is finished in the chiller and on the plate.”
Driven to find out all he could about breeding quality Angus cattle, Dennis also became involved in Angus Australia, serving on the board for a good number of years, ultimately as its chairman, and being involved in many sector-leading and development trials, helping to raise the standard of the national Angus herd to its current point of prominence on the paddock, in the saleyards and over the hooks.
“We’ve achieved the highest levels of carcass quality with our bulls and we’ve made a lot of friends along the way, not only with the many repeat clients we’ve had but also with the likeminded people we’ve met in the industry as well.
“From a breed point of view, we’ve been able to attract some of the very best minds to guide us and our staff over the years have been fantastic.
“It’s been a great journey and while we’re continuing on as commercial breeders it’s time to scale back a bit now.”
Last Friday, there wasn’t a better place for a big black Angus cow to be, chowing down on some morning hay while watching over some promising-looking youngsters against the backdrop of an azure coastal sky and the blue waters of Bass Strait.
The 2018 Yancowinna Angus Total Dispersal and Spring Bull Sale will be held on Monday, October 22 at 10am on the property at 700 Inverloch-Cape Paterson Road.
Total dispersal sale at Yancowinna Angus