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Record year brings Christmas cheer

Danella BevisCountryman

The Santa Gertrudis came to town with the Gentle family in January last year and the seasons since could not have been more different.

However, there are plenty of reasons to be jolly at Christmas this year, after 785mm fell on their North Dinninup property, where they run 120 Santa Gertrudis breeders and 1700 Merino ewes, resulting in a bumper hay crop.

This was in stark contrast to when the Gentles, who run Morialta stud, arrived from Esperance in 2010 when they received less than half of this year's rainfall in total - only 360mm.

"We have had one of our driest years on record, our best year on record, and now the Blackwood River has broken its banks," Stephen Gentle said.

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"The kids love it because now they can canoe down the river."

Proving the impact of Indonesia's plan to cut imports of Australian cattle almost in half will be widespread, the Gentles are among the many cattle producers who will feel the flow-on effects.

The Gentles send their bulls mainly to stations in the Gascoyne and Pilbara.

"If they can't sell their cattle, then they won't buy our bulls," Stephen said. "If we can't sell our bulls we will maybe look at cross-breeding and turning them off as weaners."

In the meantime, the family is focusing on enjoying the festive season in the South West and are not ruling out the chance of a little Santa on the lunch menu.

"We'll be looking forward to catching up and spending time with the family," Donna said.

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