Balance key for superfine growers

Kate MatthewsCountryman
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Keeping a balance for the whole farm approach is a key strategy used by Tambellup superfine woolgrowers, the Brown family.

Nine years ago, they started to introduce superfine genetics to lower their micron.

Today, the focus is still on a superfine wool cut for the Italian market, but the family is also going to try for a larger sheep to mate with Poll Dorsets for crossbreds.

The aim is to help to keep the next generation interested in sheep opposed to continuous cropping.

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“You have to keep a balance within your whole farm and the more you can put into it, the more you can get out of your farm, ” Graeme Brown said.

“Everything has to be balanced to be healthy.”

Mr Brown, who has a strong affinity with the Merino, could not be a better advocate for the breed.

“I am aiming at the Italian niche market, because it’s that feel for wool. I love the product; it keeps you cool, it keeps you warm, it’s fire proof, it’s natural and its just got so much going for it, ” he said.

The Browns run 5300 head, including 2100 breeding ewes, and up to 500 will be mated to Poll Dorsets to boost cash flow.

“I still want a good wool sheep to breed Poll Merinos and the idea of the bigger frame of sheep is for the Poll Dorsets, ” Mr Brown said.

The average micron across the flock is 17.6 with shearing now done once a year in October, following years of split-shearing.

Despite the dry conditions with less than average rainfall recorded, Mr Brown said he would try to keep as many sheep as he could over the summer.

“That’s where the security is at the moment, because of price and wool taking a kick, ” he said.

The Eastern Market Indicator was up 21 cents last week.

With shearing almost finished, Mr Brown said he would sell oddments as soon as possible and the rest of his wool would be sold depending on test results and harvest.

The aim is to sell it after March, which marks the end of the Brown family’s financial year, so there is a healthy cash flow.

“The Merino breed is a tough animal and will get through. If you keep it at a healthy score of two and half and keep up the feed and water it will get through, ” Mr Brown said.

“Water, of course, is going to be an issue, but we will work around that and have a couple of soaks.”

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