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Shear relief as big dry ends

Haidee VandenbergheCountryman

Before the handpieces had even started this autumn, Greg Scott admitted this was one shearing he was looking forward to.

Sheep numbers have been reduced by a third on Greg and Tarnyia’s Wondinong station, 70km east of Mt Magnet, because of drought and wild dogs. But in April this year they shore 3000 Merinos.

Conditions might have been dry six months ago, but the situation has now reversed. Wondinong received 100mm of rain in December and an enormous 175mm in February.

“It got fairly wet out here and we had water flowing past the house, but it didn’t come in,” Greg said.

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Now there is ample feed on the 77,200ha station — enough for the next 12 months.

“The country looks good,” Greg said. “It is as good a start to the year as you can get. It takes the pressure off and people are more optimistic because it makes things much easier when you’ve got feed.

“Wool prices are good and the sheep are fat. That makes shearing enjoyable, but it would be good to have 8000 to 10,000 sheep.”

There’s just one thorn in Greg’s side in what is otherwise shaping up to be a good season — wild dogs.

The Scotts estimate dogs have killed between 500 and 600 sheep this past year and they are as bad — if not worse — than ever.

“If we didn’t have the dingoes here, we’d be looking at the country and how we could crank sheep numbers up,” Greg said.

“Now we have had rain, even with just a bite on the sheep, if the dogs don’t kill them the flies will.”

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