Topics:  brian ahearn, gayndah, lifestyle, livestock, sheep producer

Head check needed after dad gives up agency for sheep

AGENT OF CHANGE: Clifton’s Brian Ahearn has been a livestock agent, a horse trainer and is now turning off prime lambs.
AGENT OF CHANGE: Clifton’s Brian Ahearn has been a livestock agent, a horse trainer and is now turning off prime lambs. Toni Somes

WHEN former Gayndah live-stock agent Brian Ahearn first touted the idea of retiring south, his son wondered aloud if he was losing it.

When he actually bought a small Clifton property and shifted to one of the state's coldest regions, the same child shook his head and said "Dad's not thinking so well anymore".

Then, when after a lifetime in the cattle industry, the retired agent ventured into sheep, his children threatened to get his head checked.

It's frustrating when consumers have to pay $18 to $22 a kilogram for lamb.

This week the affable landholder good naturedly retold the story as he savoured success at the Warwick saleyards.

His pen of Dorper cross lambs averaged 47kg and sold for a near weekly high of $95.

The lambs had been finished on the last of Mr Ahearn's oats, backed up by lucerne.

He was more than satisfied with the saleyard's price.

"I have always said you have to be prepared to accept the market as it is on the day," he said.

The former Central Queenslander runs 150 ewes on a small fattening operation on Kings Creek, between Clifton and Nobby.

He shifted south 12 years ago and these days runs a mix of cattle and prime lambs.

"I try to turn off lambs in the 45-47kg range and sometimes they sell better than others."

Yet as a prime lamb producer, albeit one who insists it is very much a sideline, he remains frustrated by the difference between saleyard prices and supermarket shelves.

"It's frustrating when consumers have to pay $18 to $22 a kilogram for lamb," Mr Ahearn said.

"Particularly when you are well aware of what price they are making in the saleyards.

"I think the high supermarket prices are affecting people's decision to choose lamb as a protein.

"For many it is too dear."

However on the upside he said when his pens sold well it went someway to disproving the criticisms of his children about his location and lifestyle choice.



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