Cradle helps farm smash record

Jo FulwoodThe West Australian
Cradle helps farm smash record
Camera IconCradle helps farm smash record Credit: Countryman

He is only 20, but this Kojonup farmer is taking the Great Southern sheep industry by storm.

Last year, Quentin Marinoni estimated his team of workers crutched almost 200,000 sheep, but he is hoping by the end of this year, he will have smashed that by another 100,000.

A graduate of the Narrogin College of Agriculture, Mr Marinoni is an example of how hard work and a dash of ambition can end up a success story, particularly in an industry that does not always have happy endings.

Just 12 months ago, Mr Marinoni and his family purchased a crutching cradle as a way to diversify and increase their off-farm income.

During the spring, Mr Marinoni can have up to 13 men working for him, using three different crutching cradles. Throughout this busy time he now runs two crutching teams that travel the Great Southern.

"It's getting pretty big now," Mr Marinoni said

"I did work experience when I was just in high school and I also crutched a bit throughout my time at Ag College," he said.

After graduating from the Narrogin college, Mr Marinoni worked for a local contractor who then offered to sell him the cradle.

From the humble beginnings of a single crutching cradle, Mr Marinoni now employs his father, brother, cousin, neighbours and other young farmers and workers around the district.

"Now five months of the year, we are flat out," he said.

"There are probably three key times of the year when we are really busy," he said.

"Around April, then June and July and then again in spring.

"We are also starting to do a lot of lambs in February now and, yes, it's starting to spread right across the year."

Mr Marinoni's mother Ros is proud of her son's business success.

"The most he has done in a day is 1000 sheep. Yes, that's quite a lot," she said. "In the busy period he has had to turn quite a few farmers away.

"He simply couldn't fit them in."

According to Mrs Marinoni, the business requires little financial outlay, and little in the way of inputs.

"All you need is a hand piece, shearing combs and cutters."

But crutching can be physically tough, and Mr Marinoni admits it can be punishing on the body.

"My plan is to keep doing it for another 10 years, and then hand it over to my brother who is only 16 at the moment," Mr Marinoni said.

"Really, it's a young person's game."

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