No job’s too tough for Turner

Kate MatthewsCountryman

If agriculture ever needed a positive female role model then Edna Turner would win hands down.

The 83-year-old Narrikup farmer is just as hands on today as she was in 1963 after moving from Port Pirie, South Australia to an uncleared farm with her late husband Louis.

At six o’clock every morning, six days a week, Mrs Turner is up and ready for work.

She feeds out hay, helps muster 300 head of breeders plus 1000 crossbred sheep across two farms, works in the yards and does the bookwork.

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“It’s not hard work driving a tractor with a roller, its only pulling a lever, but by doing that, I can check on the cows, ” Mrs Turner said.

With a spring in her step, just as energetic as anyone a quarter of her age, Mrs Turner has no plans to stop farming.

“I’ve lived on a farm all my life and it’s the only life I know. I’m not going to go and live in town until I lose my licence, ” she said.

And nor is she keen to lease it out.

Helping on the farm three and a half days a week is Sean Kerr, who also works for Elders at the Great Southern Regional Cattle saleyards.

“A lot of blokes will work you and use you up, but Mrs Turner will work just as hard as you do, ” Mr Kerr said.

While many producers have been getting out of cattle, Mrs Turner is reaping the reward of staying with the industry.

“Prices this year are up at least a $1 per kilogram, ” said Sean.

“Yearling cattle last year were about $1.70 and this year, you’re averaging $2.40 to $2.70/kg on good cattle.”

Mrs Turner breeds her mixed herd of cattle including Murray Greys, Angus and Chargreys on the Narrikup farm and grows them out on kikuyu pastures in Redmond.

Calves are born in April and grown out to trade weights and sold the following spring.

“Everyone is different but for me, I’d rather have less cattle and keep the young stock and get them heavier, ” Mrs Turner said.

Lambing is mid-June with Merino White Suffolk cross lambs sold in December to conserve feed through the summer for the cattle.

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