5 July, 2023
Behind all the no-added-hormones Australian beef at Coles are passionate beef farmers like Tim Wilson, GRAZE beef farmer from Labertouche in Victoria, who'll stop at nothing to get a juicy cut of meat.
There’s a reason why you can count on no-added-hormones Aussie beef at Coles. It takes time, effort and devotion to produce consistent results, and Coles has a dedicated team of livestock specialists with 150 years combined experience. They travel more than 350,000km across the country every year working with about 1000 beef producers to ensure you enjoy great-tasting beef
at home – whether it’s Coles brand, GRAZE or the new carbon neutral range available nationally.
One of these beef producers is Tim Wilson, who owns Amphitheatre cattle farm at Labertouche, Victoria and supplies Coles with entirely grass-fed beef. Cattle raised by GRAZE producers are free to graze on pastures and are never fed cereal grains.
Tim’s dream was always to have his own farm, and when an opportunity to manage – and later purchase – a cattle farm he jumped at the chance. For him, as well as caring about the welfare of his cattle, it’s a lifestyle that suits him to a tee, given he’s spent a lifetime learning the intricacies of farming.
It started as a child on his family’s hobby farm where he’d spend his weekends covered in dirt, and continued into studying agriculture at university and launching a sales career selling fertiliser and seeds to farmers. He took this time as a learning opportunity, absorbing as much information and knowledge as possible.
“Farming was definitely my calling,” he adds. “It doesn’t feel like work to me – it’s just really enjoyable.”
“Customers know our premium product will produce a quality meal every time,” Tim says.
So where does quality beef production begin? It starts with an impressive herd, but it takes a lot of knowledge to get the best product – and Tim refuses to compromise when it comes to ensuring top conditions for his cattle.
“You need the right genetics to get the right amount of fat – our animals are a result of 40 years of breeding,” Tim explains.
“Then it comes down to making sure they have the right nutrition throughout their lives and are kept in a good environment.”
After his years spent on all sides of agriculture, Tim knew that he wanted to raise cows on grass and leave them free to roam. Of course, keeping grass-fed cattle has its own specific set of challenges.
“You need the right grass variety, soil type and nutrition, and rainfall,” he says.
“The weather is really important to our process, so I’m always looking at the long term forecast as well as the short term, and we cut a lot of silage in spring to cover ourselves through dry patches or wet patches.”
Maintaining verdant paddocks to rotate his herd through is an absolute must. All the while, Tim’s conscious of his role in caring for the land.
“We need to be sustainable to survive, so we carefully select fertiliser and we plant hundreds of trees each year for environmental appeal and wildlife appeal,” he says.
“We’ve also got about 40 hectares of natural bush on the property, which are storing carbon.”
After growing up on his family’s hobby farm, Tim still pinches himself that he turned his dream of owning a cattle farm into a reality – even ten years in.
And while it’s hard work, come knock off time Tim spends his down time with his family.
“The first part of my day is spent driving a tractor, putting out hay and silage,” he says.
“Then I’ll be fixing pipes or fences, or on the computer, recording animal health information or doing accounting. When the kids get home, I’ll catch up with them and watch my daughter ride her horse.”
When it comes to enjoying his own produce, Tim loves sizzling a steak on the barbecue – always medium-rare – or slow-cooking a brisket.
“We’ll eat it with some roast vegetables or a salad,” Tim says. “I love a good old snag too.” Now that’s the ultimate tick of approval.