Clip go the shears as output is cut
Wool harvest is now only a fraction of what it was during peak times at the Brown family’s Bidgerabbie farm at Dandaragan.
From producing upwards of 500 bales of wool, the 2018 harvest will be just one-fifth of that volume.
Richard Brown said from a long period of running a 50-50 sheep cropping program, trading about 35,000 11⁄2-year-old wethers every year, it was decided to cut sheep numbers.
“We were very discouraged when the 2011 live export cattle ban to Indonesia brought in tougher market conditions for the sheep trade,” he said.
“With the uncertainty, we got out of sheep for a four-year break but have since re-introduced numbers on top of better market values. However, the wether market trade is still a worry.”
Mr Brown said sheep had always been an important component of the farm in using the cropping stubble as a valuable feed source.
“We now buy approximately 15,000 good quality crossbred and Merino lambs which are shorn on arrival,” he said.
“They will be turned out to pasture to be trained on lupin seed before being moved into the stubble paddocks.”
Mr Brown and his wife Diane, who farm with Richard’s parents, John and Margaret, and his brother David and wife Sue, will soon celebrate 100 years since grandfather Jack settled at Bidgerabbie.
“This will be our 98th wool clip and our wool classer, Milton Brown, has had a long history of his family being involved in the clip preparation,” he said.
“It has been an honour to have past country football legend Rob Dann return to our shed for many years to be quick and clean on the shears.”
Rob Dann was as swift on the shears as he was on his feet during his country football career.