Situated on the fertile flood plains, Avendrina stretches along 35km of meandering Murray River frontage.
The Baker family, together with their Farm Manager Rodney, raise Black Angus cattle, which graze on natural and irrigated pasture, ensuring they are grass-fed year round.
“Improved animal welfare outcomes was the primary driver for us to partner with Provenir.”
“The concept of our cattle being bred on our property, raised here on our pasture and finished here is very important. They are in a familiar environment with familiar cattle – as they have been their entire lives.”
“The efficiency of the process was a secondary driver. Less transport and handling steps is more efficient, and as growers we can share in that improved efficiency.
“There is also the attraction of the innovation in itself. It is a better way. We love to see Australian ingenuity and want to see on-farm processing commercially successful – a benefit for everyone.
” – Andrew Baker
Farm fast facts
|Farm Size||~ 500 hectares|
|How many cattle?||100 head of Angus cattle|
|Who works on the farm?||Andrew and Samantha Baker part time, together with Farm Manager Rodney Arnold|
|Favourite beef meal?||Steak – definitely. The sirloin cooked medium rare with hot English mustard on the side – of course. Vegetables are optional.|
|Why Provenir?||It’s a better way. High welfare and efficient.|
Why we farm
We fell into farming through family, and fell in love with the land.
Andrew and Samantha fell into farming through family connections to the land. They first ran cattle in a State Forest lease and while rewarding, raising cattle this way was a lot of hard work, and the feed on the ground proved to be sparse at times.
In 2016, the Baker family took on Avendrina and have since worked with Farm Manager Rodney to improve pastures and slowly but surely built up their cattle numbers.
For Andrew and the family it’s living and working within the natural environment which they love most about farming.
Avendrina is a beautiful property of winding creeks, massive river red gums, box eucalyptus and abundant wildlife, and the cattle do well on the land too.
Four generations of Samantha’s family have lived and farmed at Avendrina.
Originally Samantha’s grandparents’ property, Avendrina was passed onto her Aunt, before Andrew and Samantha took over the farm more recently.
While the property started out as purely a pastoral enterprise, over time with better technologies and techniques, cropping has entered the equation. It is now a mixed operation with cattle and winter cropping, which the Bakers have found works particularly well in the Riverina environment.
For Andrew, doing something practical, running cattle and farming is an interesting, worthwhile and challenging pursuit. There is something curiously addictive about it that Andrew can’t quite put his finger on.
"The Provenir approach is the highest animal welfare process
we can find for our beef cattle."
"They are bred on the property, live their entire lives there through to the end."
"Grass fed and humanely handled - if you’re going to eat meat, this is the way to do it."
– Andrew Baker
The Baker family breed their own cattle on the farm, all Black Angus and predominately of Table Top Angus Stud, from Tim and Jess Scott.
Currently supporting 60 head of breeding cows, they carry weaners through for a year or more before selling into traditional markets and now through their partnership with Provenir.
One of Australia’s most popular breeds of cattle, and with good reason, Angus are a hardy breed with advanced genetics. The meat has a deep red colour and a tender texture, having a good fat score, Angus meat has a rich favour and often well-developed marbling.
Calm handling sometimes has its own challenges.
Farm Manager Rodney works closely with the cattle, ensuring that they are well fed and kept moving forwards on to fresh pastures.
Rodney’s regular handling of the cattle on the farm and in the yards, means that that they are stress-free and familiar with human interactions.
From the time they are born, the cattle are exposed to people, the farm ute, and are moved with motorbikes. Introducing this interaction at a young age and keeping these experiences positive, such as moving onto fresh pasture ensures the cattle are calm when moving them through the property and into the yards.
In fact, we reckon Rodney is a bit of a “cow whisperer” the way he can guide the cattle just with his calm voice.
The only downside of calm handling is that sometimes the cattle can be a bit too calm – and won’t get going!
Seasonal cycles of cropping and cattle breeding
The cycles of cropping and breeding fill the seasonal calendar at Avendrina.
In winter, the bulls are in for joining and marking for this year’s calves is due.
Selective cropping is utilised to clear weeds, improve the soil with deep cultivation and fertilisation before returning the nutrients to pasture.