Esperance farming stalwart bails out in fine style

Headshot of Bob Garnant
Bob GarnantCountryman
Elders’ Heather Steel and Danny Burkett with Epasco Farms manager Rod Taylor, Shaun Bennett and Jay Daw.
Camera IconElders’ Heather Steel and Danny Burkett with Epasco Farms manager Rod Taylor, Shaun Bennett and Jay Daw. Credit: Bob Garnant

Epasco Farms stalwart Rod Taylor tipped the wool bales in an exceptional offering at the Fremantle sale earlier this month — his farewell woolclip as he approaches retirement.

After his 37th year of managing the Esperance farm, located east of Condingup and now owned by the Springorum family based in Germany, Mr Taylor said he was pleased to leave the farm in the best shape ever.

“The 14,800-hectare property currently runs a flock of 20,500 Merino ewes with a total sheep population of 52,000 in a time when wool prices are at the best I’ve seen,” he said.

“Our business structure is focused mainly on sheep for production of wool, making up 50 per cent of the business structure, then 25 per cent is cattle and 25 per cent cropping.”

Mr Taylor, who will retire in March, contributed his successful career to being patient, hiring good staff, co-operation from contractors and working with excellent communication and marketing people. “I’ve seen it all, the extremes of fire, flood and drought,” he said.

“Since the Springorum family took ownership in 1980, they have been very supportive by their appreciation of the natural fibre.”

The October shearing at Espaco Farms produced 227 bales of adult fleece wool for last week’s Fremantle sale, which sold to a top of 1532 cents/kg greasy through the Elders catalogue. The 13-bale consignment topper measured an average 21.2 micron, 91mm in staple length, with a 15 per cent CV and a yield of 73.6 per cent. “Off a late season start, the wool tested very well,” Mr Taylor said.

Mr Taylor said a recent trip to China had topped up his optimism for the wool industry after experiencing the ups and downs of the market over many years.

“The last four years, I have been forward-selling a portion of the clip as a hedge in a limited supply market,” he said.

“Epasco Farms replacement manager will be Nick Ruddenklau, who is currently at The Oaks farm in Gibson.”

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