A SMALL-scale commercial vealer producer for eight years, Peter Fitzpatrick got his first Charolais bull from Wallednaw three years ago.
At the time, Peter was breeding pure Angus for the vealer market.
"I swapped to the Charolais-Angus purely for the vealers, to get better vealers," he said.
"The cross is a lot better vealer for the butchers at nine to 10 months old for weight, eye muscle depth.
"They get more meat off them.
"Obviously the prices of cattle have come up over the last three years, but with the Angus that I was breeding I would have only been getting $700 return for a 340kg at nine months.
"For the last two years from the Charolais my tops have been getting up to $980 and top weights of 420kg.
"So they probably put on about 80kg more going to the Euro-cross.
"And because you're chasing both the vealer and the butchers, here where I sell in Bendigo, they go for the Euro-cross."
Peter, who farms with his wife, Kristy, on 32ha at Strathfieldsaye, southeast of Bendigo, initially chose to run Angus breeders for their mothering ability.
But after seeing other breeders get better money for Limousin-Angus calves, he decided to try crossbreeding himself.
"I decided to try the Charolais and I actually had Limo calves in between in the same year as Charolais last year and the Charolais outdid the Limo for both weight and cents per kilogram," he said.
"If you look in The Weekly Times, the Charolais-Angus were all the top pens at all the yearling sales this year."
Peter has so far used two Charolais bulls from Wallednaw, which is run near Kerang by Dennis Taylor, and plans to go back for a third.
"There's no doubt I'm extremely happy with making the decision to cross the Angus to Charolais," he said.
"It's been the difference between going forward with it or wondering how much I should throw at this.
"There's easy a $200 a head turnaround. A lot of that's to do with the better conditions we've had the last couple of years, but the Angus are nowhere near making that dollar when you're aiming at the vealer trade."
Peter said he had no grand plans to expand his enterprise, preferring to remain a boutique producer and will send off 26 calves this year.
But he's working to improve the cow herd, buying some new Angus heifers in the past month.
"They're calving down to Angus but next year they'll be crossed with the Charolais bull," he said.
"With a bit of luck I'll end up getting heifers out of them so I can retain them."
Peter also has done a test run on two of his initial drop of Charolais-Angus heifers, joining them to his second Charolais bull.
"One's just calved, and I'm still waiting on the other one to calve," he said.
As well as dedicated lucerne paddocks, Peter grazes his stock on ryegrass and clover perennial pastures.
About 10-15 per cent of the property is sown down to dryland and some irrigated lucerne, watered from nearby Axe Creek.