She wasn’t sure about applying for the GenAngus Future Leaders Program, but Bridget Watson definitely made the most of her time in the program over the three days in Adelaide during June.
Hailing from the Coonalpyn area in South Australia, Miss Watson is a recent graduate from high school and when the opportunity arose to apply for the development program, she somewhat baulked at the program.
“Jake (Phillips, Angus Australia Extension Manager) mentioned it to me and said I should do it and that I would benefit from it, and I thought that I was a bit young and doubted myself. But my dad gave me the kick I needed and said I should really apply for it.
“It’s a really good program, and I am so happy that I did apply. I have learnt so much from it and being so young is not a weakness, it’s actually probably a strength, as it opens up my future for me.”
Founded in 2012, the Watson family run both a commercial and Angus seedstock operation, as well as a hay enterprise.
The family has been utilising Angus within their operations for approximately 12 years, citing the demand for the breed as their key driver for their selection decision.
“We breed Angus because that’s where the demand is. We know people want Angus and we know there is a market for it. We also started breeding Angus initially because of the history of good calving ease.”
Recently, Miss Watson and her family developed Binnowie Angus, a seedstock enterprise with the aim to host their first bull sale in 2023.
With a low stress management operating philosophy and practice, the Watson’s key drivers for success identified within their businesses are grass fed, low supplementary feeding and good feed management, low numbers per hectare, and good quality structured cattle.
In the coming years, Bridget and her family have the goal for this business to build a herd with a wide customer base selling up to 50-60 good quality structured bulls.
“The short-term goals for our business would be to increase our herd numbers so we have a number of bulls to be able to sell at auction as well as getting that customer base,” said Miss Watson.
When selecting genetics for their operations, the Watsons value ease and longevity in their cattle and for their clientele.
“The traits that are most important to us are calving ease, growth, structure and docility,” said Miss Watson.
“When it comes to breeding, we want to breed an animal that isn’t going to have trouble with calving. We want everyone to have those sleep easy at night animals while still maintaining good growth.
“We believe structure is important because we want our cattle to last and to be able to carry the weight. We want quiet cattle that we know we can work safely with in the yards or out the paddock.”
Looking to the future of their business, the Watsons have some clear goals outlined they are aiming to achieve.
“In 5 years, we see ourselves selling 40 bulls a year with a good customer base,” said Miss Watson.
“Females and heifer bulls will be in high demand in the future so therefore the EBVs and genetics will become even more important. The demand for the Angus breed will be high because of numbers increasing over Australia.
“Long term we wish to have a 500-cow herd and around 80 bulls, and be a well-known stud that produces structurally sound, calving ease animals. We would like to have a bull that is good enough to put into the AI system.”
Earlier in the year, the Watsons were the successful purchasers of an Angus heifer, Stoney Point Annabelle S002PV, which was auctioned at the Stoney Point Stage Two Dispersal Sale in March, with all proceeds going to the Angus Foundation.
The Angus Foundation provides a mechanism for members and other beef industry stakeholders to support youth development, education and research programs conducted by Angus Australia.
The Watsons were made aware of the heifer through their relationship as repeat clients of Stoney Point for their commercial operation. Of their purchase the Watson family expressed that they looked to use the foundation heifer as a foundation for their developing stud enterprise.
“Initially purchasing the heifer has drawn an awareness to Binnowie Angus and our journey, therefore helping us get our name out.
“Further down the track she will be used as one of our foundation females. We look forward to seeing how
Following her time at the GenAngus Future Leaders Program, Bridget is looking forward to implementing what she learned over the three-day intensive workshop into the developing Binnowie Angus.
“The GenAngus Future Leaders Program was definitely far beneficial to my personal and professional development,” said Miss Watson.
“Being so young it was all new and a learning experience for me and I know that in the future I can apply it all to better our business. Some things I can apply now and some later down the track, but I know I’ll be aware and know exactly when to apply it.”
When reflecting on her key take homes from the event, Miss Watson focused on presentations that were relevant to the launching of their new business identity.
“I enjoyed everything about the program however if I have to narrow it down, I would say I found Angus Street’s story and journey incredibly inspiring.
“Something I took home and know I can implement was Diana Wood and Heidi Wright’s presentations about marketing and social media. As a new stud starting out, we want to make ourselves as visible and known as we can and we want to build that strong customer base,” she said.
“Learning about how to successfully market and use social media to its full potential was really the push in the right direction I needed to bring back and apply at home.”
“I loved it all. The mindset presentation (by Peter Clark of 21 Whispers) right at the start got me as I do doubt myself, like I said before I wasn’t sure I wanted to apply
because I thought I was too young but it’s that mindset game of I can do this. And I will.”
By Cheyne Twist, Senior Marketing and Communications Officer