Guy a wealth of information

Headshot of Bob Garnant
Bob GarnantCountryman

York prime lamb producer Guy Bowen will debut at the Gidgegannup Small Farm Field Day this year, bringing with him more than 44 years of sheep-breeding experience.

He will be offering advice and information packages specifically designed for sheep management on smaller properties.

In addition, the innovative farmer will display his unique line of maternal sheep that have the potential to turn small landholdings into fields of dreams.

"No one on a smaller lifestyle property is going to become rich by running a few sheep," Guy said.

"However, a great deal of satisfaction can be gained from owning a great looking flock of productive, easy-care sheep that are suited to keeping the property fire safe while helping to pay the rates."

Guy said that timely advice on sheep management, fencing, yard design and nutrition, as well as marketing and breeding options, was invaluable.

As a 16-year-old growing up on a small family farm in Stoneville, Guy established a sheep stud in 1968 while also commuting back and forth to school in Swanbourne.

"I dreaded leaving the sheep every time I caught the steam train to Perth," Guy recalled.

"I often left for school in darkness, and returned after the sun set."

After feeding his sheep, Guy would be found sitting on the upturned bucket admiring and studying his charges.

_ An opportunity _

In 1976, an opportunity to finance a property 20km west of York set Guy and his sheep flock on a new path and there was no looking back.

The Mount Ronan farm has since welcomed and been the home to Guy's wife, Joanne, and the couple's four children, Liam, Elise, Declan and Hannah.

Elise recently completed an animal science degree at Murdoch University and is working at the university as a research officer.

"She is as passionate about sheep husbandry and management as I am," Guy said.

Mount Ronan was once home to the largest Suffolk sheep flock in Australia and rams were sold throughout WA and to other states. Elise owns a smaller flock of their descendants on the farm.

In 1989, Guy commenced a White Suffolk breeding program and the family sold flock rams for Australasian record prices on a few occasions.

The stud currently sells rams from Northampton to Southern Cross and Esperance, and to all areas in between. Rams are also sold to the eastern states.

In 2004, Mount Ronan began a maternal breeding program.

"Our goal was to breed a sheep that was able to meet all the needs of the prime lamb industry and to maximise returns to producers," Guy said.

"The new type of sheep is already having a profound effect on prime lamb enterprise profitability in WA.

"Mount Ronan maternals are essentially fly-proof.

"Not only are they low maintenance animals, they are also very fertile, hardy and productive and have a wonderful temperament.

"They generally consist of a stabilised mix of six different sheep breeds comprising Finn, Texel, Dorper, Border Leicester, East Friesian and White Suffolk genetics."

He said the maternal sheep were ideal for Hills properties, regardless of farm size, and designed to maximise returns.

Guy is always prepared to offer his clients information and support at all levels.

At Gidgegannup, Guy will be handing out brochures and is looking forward to giving visitors the 'heads up' on how to make sheep farming their greatest pride.


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