Change of Kingslane guard at Red Angus stud

Zach RelphCountryman
Kingslane Red Angus’ incoming manager Jacques Martinson with predecessor Robert Italiano.
Camera IconKingslane Red Angus’ incoming manager Jacques Martinson with predecessor Robert Italiano. Credit: Zach Relph

Harvey cattle breeding buff Robert Italiano boasts a revered understanding of Red Angus genetics.

It has spawned from a life-long association with South West agriculture, dating back to his childhood at the Italianos’ dairy and potato farm at Benger.

Although coming from dairy origins, Mr Italiano opted out of the milk shed in 1987 to embark on a career in cattle.

He went on to manage a Simmental stud, carve out a stint with Harvey Beef and oversee the Richard Bennett-owned Magic Valley Beef Red Angus stud for more than a decade.

However, the 72-year-old went full circle three years ago when he returned to work at the former family farm, nestled off the South Western Highway in between Harvey and Brunswick.

About 250ha of the Italianos’ former 405ha property is now owned by Perth businessman John Cranston and is home to the Cranston family’s Kingslane Red Angus stud operation.

Mr Italiano, who has been overseeing Kingslane through his role as stud stock manager, said combining his Red Angus passion and knowledge of the former family farm’s landscape had proved beneficial.

“I love the Red Angus and I think they mix really well with the Simmental,” Mr Italiano said.

“It is a big operation with close to 400 head of cattle — there is always something to do.”

Despite still fit and in good health, Mr Italiano — a badminton gold medal winner at 2016’s Alice Springs Masters Games — is handing the Kingslane stud stock manager reins to emerging cattle star Jacques Martinson.

The South African-born Mr Martinson joined the Kingslane team last month with ambitions to expand his Red Angus breeding career.

The 27-year-old hailed from Kimberley, the capital city of South Africa’s Northern Cape province, before moving to Australia to work in WA’s Kimberley region in 2012.

After arriving in the State’s northernmost corner, Mr Martinson worked for SAWA Pastoral Company across its mammoth landholding at Moola Bulla, Beefwood Park and Shamrock stations.

He then assumed a position with Serpentine-based Red Angus stud Jutland Park, where he worked for the past five years ahead of starting at Kingslane.

Mr Martinson said the first month at Kingslane had been an experience and tapping into Mr Italiano’s knowledge of Red Angus genetics was worthwhile.

“It is a beautiful property and it is nice to work with Robert,” he said.

“The Harvey district is an area that I love because it is similar to where I am from in South Africa.

“Coming from a Red Angus stud at Jutland, with 60 and 70 Red Angus breeders, to 150 breeders, it has opened my eyes on genetics and sourcing better bulls.

“We have to try and think two years in advance to what our clients want... it has broadened my visual and mindset of how to run a farm.”

Kingslane will hold its next bull sale at the Benger farm on February 11. Held in conjunction with Magic Valley, 47 bulls will be on offer including Kingslane Narky N30 and Kingslane Nasa N39.

It comes in the wake of the Kingslane’s latest artificial insemination program, which ended in May, with 138 heifers artificial inseminated and 40 natural matings.

Mr Italiano will remain on-farm, helping Mr Martinson transition into his new role and said he was confident the passionate South African cattleman would enjoy the stud experience.

“I’m getting on a little bit and even though I still feel fine and fit, it’s time to do a bit more at my own place,” he said.

“I’m thrilled for Jacques because he is a good cattle person ... we get on well and that’s the most important part, as far as I’m concerned.

“Hopefully, the future will be as good as for Jacques as what cattle has been for me.”

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