In the early 1990s, just before Bob Carr came to power and closed so many sawmills, then NSW Minister for Natural Resources, Ian Causley got to know barracker for the bush Bronwyn Petrie.
The pair saw eye to eye on private native forestry and remained friends. For Mr Causley, fast forward through successive ministry portfolios in state government, including Agriculture, followed by a stint in Federal Parliament. Eventually he earned a limp from a bad hip before deciding to get it fixed.
Three years of medical complications and hospitalisation followed, with the parting gift of a super bug. "I should have stuck with the pain," he said.
A former sugar cane producer from the lower Clarence, with an interest in breeding poultry for show, Mr Causley distracted himself from the pain with a new project.
He decided to satisfy his curiosity in the techniques of embryo transfer in cattle, gleaned from a time when he was in government.
A partnership was born between Mrs Petrie, her ex-husband Bill and their son Tim, a sixth generation cattleman on the property.
In 2017 they bought four year old Millah Murrah J245 by Te Mania Emperor, with a bull calf at foot by Millah Murrah Kruse Time 400. Last year they got another two cows, tested in calf, from the Wattletop dispersal, having previously used Lock Rogers' bulls to good success.
"We were looking for that solid rectangular shape with strong frame, marbling and low birth weight, not just EBVs," said Mrs Petrie. "Bill's family has always bred Devon because they're good milkers and good mothers and work the hills. They're good, strong cattle. But we've been gradually converting to Angus over the last 14 years."
The high-tech approach to breeding does come with its challenges, particularly in drought when recipient cows must remain on a rising plane of nutrition. By contrast donor cows need to keep their weight down. If recipients don't match well with the donor timing and they don't cycle properly then those cows are no good for that part of the program.
The autumn transfer was scrapped due to so little rain and recipients will wait for another chance in the the spring.
In spite of drought pressures genetic advancement is continuing apace. Eight cows are pregnant with embryos sired by US bull LD Capitalist 300.