Clip go the shears as out­put is cut

Countryman - - WOOL - Bob Gar­nant

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.”

Pic­ture: Bob Gar­nant

Rob Dann was as swift on the shears as he was on his feet dur­ing his coun­try foot­ball ca­reer.

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