Since making the decision to breed beef cattle 15 years ago, the Kielman family’s farming operation has continued to grow.

Trading as Lilyvale Grazing, the entire family is involved with the farm in one way or another.

Geoff Kielman said his parents, Ray and Marilyn still live and work on the farm at Pinjarra Western Australia, close to him and his wife Kelly and their three children Spencer, Austin and Hudson.

Also helping out is Geoff’s uncle Graeme, his father-in-law Rob as well as a full-time worker Kyle Hodges.“I am very lucky to have a good family behind me that are very involved,” Mr Kielman said.

A good friend of Mr Kielman, Marc Ross has also been an integral part of helping the family to get to where they are now.
Having bred dairy cattle for a number of years it was a slow and gradual buildup of their beef cattle herd.
By 2010 the Kielmans were running 140 Angus breeders and 12 years later have reached a current breeding herd size of 500.
Along with the increase in herd numbers, they also expanded their farmland having acquired Mr Kielman’s uncle’s farm (800 acres), located at Bow Bridge four hours from their two home farm properties at Meelon/Pinjarra.

When selecting a breed, Angus was an obvious choice for the Kielmans as when they were running the dairy cattle they were putting an Angus bull over the Friesians and found the Angus to be easy, docile cattle to work with.
The Angus society also put a lot of work into promoting and marketing the breed so there was huge market demand for them.

Joining is on the first of June with calving beginning in March. When selling the cattle they are targeting feedlotters and grass fatteners. Generally, they don’t aim to achieve a specific sale weight but usually sell the calves at the 330-340kg mark.

Mr Kielman said the market values had been fantastic and hoped it would continue for the foreseeable future. He said that it was hard to predict if the prices would remain as high as they were so they were trying to make the most of it while they could. “Agriculture on a whole is doing very well, it is a good time to be a cattle producer,” Mr Kielman said.

Mr Kielman said temperament was the most important trait when it came to selecting their bulls and which heifers to retain each year. Other characteristics that they look for in their bulls include a medium/ moderate maturity pattern and frame to ensure that they can meet all the categories when being sold into the feedlot market. “Ideally we are looking for nice soft easy doing bulls,” Mr Kielman said. As for classing the heifers, the main traits they look for, similar to the bulls, are moderate mature weight cows with good feet and frame. All of the females are pregnancy tested around classing time.

Most of the breeders that they will retain will stay on the two Pinjarra properties, while they will run the more mature cows at Bow Bridge. Mr Kielman said it would be a learning experience running cattle on the new property as they aimed to keep their operations in sync but the conditions may differ.

Despite the travel distance they manage to visit the Bow Bridge farm on a regular basis rotating with family members to ensure there is always someone on the property.

The cattle are 100pc grassfed and in addition to hay, the Kielmans sow their own pastures consisting mostly of clover-ryegrass. “We do a lot of reseeding each year to ensure they are on good feed,” Mr Keilman said.
As for seasonal conditions, he said they were located in a pretty reliable area and are lucky to receive consistent rainfall but 2021 was a particularly strong year. The rain encouraged plenty of pasture growth and saw the cows and calves put on plenty of weight especially during spring.

As for the future, he said they wanted to keep improving their breeding herd and continue to get better at what they do.

Author: JESSICA WHYTE, Farm Weekly

Feature image: Geoff Kielman, wife Kelly and children Spencer (left), Hudson and Austin