SUNBIZ

Cattle Whisperer: Why I Chose Livestock Farming

Basala Estate, Nasomo, in Vatukoula, is home to Geoffrey Mason, known by many in the agriculture sector as the cattle whisperer. Mr Mason recently received the Ministry of Agriculture’s 2020
10 Nov 2020 14:00
Cattle Whisperer: Why I Chose Livestock Farming
From left, Mary Mason, Geoffry Mason, friend Dhirendra Singh and son James Mason at their farm in Basala Estate in Vatukoula. Photo: Susana Hirst-Tuilau

Basala Estate, Nasomo, in Vatukoula, is home to Geoffrey Mason, known by many in the agriculture sector as the cattle whisperer.

Mr Mason recently received the Ministry of Agriculture’s 2020 National Farmer of the Year award in Nadi.

The 80-year-old owns 1184 acres of land, with a herd of more than 300 Limousin and Santa Gertrudis breed.

The Magic Word

Where farmers hire manpower and horses to herd cattle from one paddock to the other, Mr Mason does no more than talk to them.

With 68-years of experience in cattle farming, the commercial beef farmer only has to open the gate and yell, ‘Gate’.

“It is a relationship built over the years,” Mr Mason said.

“They run from wherever they are, as long as they can hear my voice.”

“Even the calves do the same. It has made my life easier. I am yet to pass this down to my boys.”

Mr Mason has six children.

Geoffrey Mason showing the quality of grass for farming cattle. Photo: Susana Hirst-Tuilau

Geoffrey Mason showing the best quality of grass for farming cattle. Photo: Susana Hirst-Tuilau

The Choice
Mr Mason started farming at the age of 12, with a horse and two cows.

“When I completed high school, my dad asked me what I wanted to do,” Mr Mason said.

“I had the opportunity to study abroad, but I stuck to farming and stayed.”

The secret to having a successful cattle farm, Mr Mason said, was: “Grass is gold.

“Everyday my son, James and I work on the farm to make sure we have the right grass for the cattle.

“Imagine cultivating 300 acres of pastures manually. We had to do it to maintain the quality of our cattle.”

He said he tried sugarcane farming, but found it challenging during harvest.

He decided to focus on livestock.

“At one point I thought to try cane farming; I harvested more than 3300 tonnes at one stage.

“It unfortunately never lasted because it was so hard to find good help. I had a terrible experience keeping workers.”

“I said to myself why am I wasting time when my cattle are so much easier to farm?”

Mr Mason said he was willing to give his time and share his vast knowledge with those interested to learn more about cattle farming.

 

Feedback: susana.tuilau@fijisun.com.fj



Fijisun Ad Space


Get updates from the Fiji Sun, handpicked and delivered to your inbox.


By entering your email address you're giving us permission to send you news and offers. You can opt-out at any time.


Total Energies
For All Fiji Sun Advertising
Fijisun E-edition
Fiji Sun Instagram
Subscribe-to-Newspaper