Bloom­ing won­der­ful sea­son in Min­genew

Countryman - - NEWS - Cally Dupe

Much of the WA land­scape is arid — but just add wa­ter and the coun­try blos­soms with wild­flow­ers and grain crops abound.

The McTag­gart fam­ily of Min­genew is in the midst of one of what Jamie McTag­gart has de­scribed as a “re­ally good” sea­son.

The trick has been the right amount of rain at the right time in the year, and fol­low-up rain with­out blis­ter­ing hot days.

The farm­ers have not been af­fected by re­cent frosts which dam­aged crops in WA’s south last month.

“It hasn’t been an ex­cep­tion­ally wet year, we have just had very good tim­ings of rain,” Mr McTag­gart said. “We couldn’t ask for any­thing bet­ter than the po­si­tion we are in, but we hope there won’t be any frost here or a re­ally hot week.

“Things are look­ing re­ally good, hope­fully it all fin­ishes off.”

Mr McTag­gart and his wife Carine farm 5000ha just 10km north of Min­genew.

They run 300 head of An­gus cat­tle with Ka­pari An­gus blood­lines and 4100ha of crop, in­clud­ing 2500ha of of Scep­tre wheat, 1000ha of Ros­alind bar­ley and 600ha of Pi­o­neer 43Y23 canola.

It’s a fam­ily op­er­a­tion, with Mr McTag­gart’s par­ents Robert and Sally tran­si­tion­ing away from the farm­ing side after tak­ing up land there in the late-1980s.

Mr McTag­gart’s brother Ben and sis­ter-in-law Hel­lene also help to run the farm.

For the first time, the McTag­garts have tried deep rip­ping about 10ha of heavy, sodic coun­try as part of a trial with lo­cal grower col­lec­tive Min­genew Ir­win Group.

“There is a sodic level across our heavy soils . . . this is our first year of deep rip­ping any hectares but it is lead­ing into more next year,” Mr McTag­gart said.

Orig­i­nally from Bea­con, how Ms McTag­gart met her hus­band and came to farm at Min­genew is a sim­i­lar story to many. Ms McTag­gart grew up on her fam­ily’s farm at Bea­con and met her fu­ture hus­band while liv­ing in Perth and play­ing hockey in her home town.

She pre­vi­ously spent four years teach­ing in Broome.

Mr McTag­gart was play­ing foot­ball in Ko­orda and it was a “ro­mance that evolved from the small town sport­ing scene”.

These days, Ms McTag­gart helps to run the farm and co-owns Broome’s The Court­house Col­lec­tion Pearl Gallery web­site, tak­ing on­line or­ders and dis­tribut­ing pearls from the farm. Her busi­ness was part of a mar­ket stall site at Expo, named The Hakea Col­lec­tive, which is a col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween a small group of Min­genew ladies show­cas­ing lo­cal home­made prod­ucts and home-based busi­nesses.

The town was buzzing at the event, with peo­ple stream­ing through the gates to check out the town’s big­gest event and the re­gion’s stun­ning wild flow­ers.

“We had great, pos­i­tive feed­back about the Expo . . . it was a re­ally vi­brant at­mos­phere,” Ms McTag­gart said.

Pic­ture: Jus­tine Rowe

Jamie and Carine McTag­gart with their chil­dren Blake, 2, and Pip, 3.

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