Brothers share shear delight in Merino clip

Headshot of Cally Dupe
Cally DupeThe West Australian
Corrigin brothers Richard Guinness and Tony Guinness at their shearing shed.
Camera IconCorrigin brothers Richard Guinness and Tony Guinness at their shearing shed. Credit: Cally Dupe

Corrigin brothers Richard and Tony Guinness have a mutual agreement for shearing they say has reaped dividends for them both.

Richard, who runs 3000 head of Merino, shears in September and Tony, who runs 2500 Merinos, picks up the clippers in February.

It’s an accord which works for the pair, who were busy shearing Merino rams when Countryman stopped in for a visit last week.

Their wooden shed is near both of their properties at Corrigin, and also played host to an art exhibition last month.

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“We just tried it differently and have found it works for us both in different ways,” Richard said.

“If we did shear at the same time, we would make it work, but I stayed in spring shearing and make up in the yield but end up with a bit of tender.

“I am a bit lucky because when I sell my wool, it is usually sold with the summer clips and I don’t get heavily discounted, touch wood.”

The Corrigin brothers’ respective farming operations are almost mirror image — working 2300ha of land each.

Both programs incorporate 1400ha of cropping and the remainder is pasture and sheep, producing 19-20 micron wool.

It’s been a cracking 12 months for the pair, who have has enjoyed good wool prices and high lambing percentages.

“Sheep is a good part of our system; everyone is different but we like sheep, we have a good commercial flock,” Richard said.

“Probably the last 12 months has been my best year ... we had a fantastic season for sheep with pastures from virtually February-March onwards.

“Everything lined up, prices were good, our wool clip was very good.

“If anything, we were over length but we didn’t get penalised.”

Pastures across the two properties are manipulated and for the first time in a number of years, both farmers are also feeding sheep with stock pellets.

Tony has also incorporated lupins into his sheep feeding program this year.

While WA farmers are looking to get back into sheep, 25 years after the calamitous collapse of the reserve price scheme, many have backed out.

“Traditionally, Corrigin used to be a mixed farming area but now you would say it’s predominantly a cropping area,” Richard said.

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