Riverview has the runs on the board

Headshot of Bob Garnant
Bob GarnantCountryman

Shearing was in full swing last week at the Bridgeman family’s property located within a stone’s throw of Horrocks Beach in the Northampton Shire.

Even though the wool shed skippers, Bevan Bridgeman and son Scott, were feeling a bit low at the time of our visit — English batsman Alastair Cook was still not out during one of his epic Ashes innings — there was still plenty of optimistic talk that Australian wool would retain its higher value and score another big hit in the 2011 sales opener.

The keepers of the Riverview flock go back three generations to Scott’s grandfather, Bert, who likened the loamy soil of the area to highly productive farming.

Scott and Bevan now form the partnership that manages the farm’s 2000 Merino breeders. They also have a mixed cropping program which combines with the sheep to make up an agricultural defensive shield against times of uncertainty.

Scott said the farm’s average 420mm annual rainfall was cut to 240mm last year.

“We harvested 1.4 tonnes per hectare of lupins, 1.9 of wheat and 850kg of canola, ” he said.

While the Bridgemans appreciate how grain values have made some positive gains, they are also hoping their Riverview wool clip will help lift them out of a below average season.

A switch five years ago to source Leachim Poll genetics has seen improvements in the flock, according to Scott.

“The wool has whitened up substantially and the micron continues to reduce, ” he said.

And even though the unseasonal humid air made the day’s shed work tough going, the flock’s easy combing fleece was appreciated by the shearers.

While Bevan was busy working the table and classing the wool, Scott did the all-round shed hand work.

“We will crush some 35 bales out of our ewes for this consignment, ” Scott said.

As with most wool producers, Scott and Bevan are hoping the industry is now on a good wicket.

“With a bit of luck we should be batting well into the next century, ” Scott said.

However, his father was concerned about the high dollar value.

“We could still be going fishing if we are priced out of the market, ” Bevan said.

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