Quality cattle to go under the hammer

By Sophie Baldwin

Some of the country's best Brown Swiss will go under the hammer at Shepparton on Thursday, when Katunga’s Em Brown, Susan Brown and Stephen Fisicaro sell young stock from their famed Linderlan and Sherbrooke herd.

The sale — comprising 40 lots, including two bulls and yearlings through to freshly calved two-year-olds — will have something for everyone, especially those looking for some show ring potential.

The studs’ best cow families are represented, including Olga, Bianca, Sigrid and Ambracia, along with imported bloodlines including Sarajevo, Chloe and Shannon.

Linderlan and Sherbrooke have won every broad ribbon at International Dairy Week over the past 22 years, this year taking out honourable mentions in both senior and intermediate sections.

The trio has also bred the reigning lifetime production record holder, as well as cows classified to EX 92, 5E along with numerous star brood cows.

It has been a hard decision to put some of their best under the hammer, but a surplus of heifers and dry conditions have left them with little option.

The family relies on the temporary water market and this season's high cost has put irrigation out of the question.

“It has been really tough feeding everything — actually, it's been a nightmare — so we are hoping to sell these lots and use this money to feed everyone else,” Ms Brown said.

And unless things improve soon the couple will be making some pretty tough decisions.

“The next three months will be critical,” Ms Brown said.

“If we can get through his we will then see how things are looking for autumn and we will be making the decision whether we stay or sell the herd.”

She said the government's 100 Gl announcement was two months too late.

“If we could have got those 25 Ml two months ago it would have made a massive difference to us on our small farm.

“We would have been able to water everything again and still have green grass instead of the bugger all we have now.”

Like many farmers, they are praying for rain and a good sale.

Linderlan is owned by Em Brown and Stephen Fisicaro, and Sherbrooke was originally owned by Em's parents and is now owned by her and her mother Susan, after her dad died in 2010.

The sale is part of a special dairy dispersal sale at the Shepparton Selling Centre on Thursday from noon, and includes 120 Holstein and Brown Swiss from various vendors.