Pro­duc­ing sheep and pigs on the Downs

Farmer Judy Bar­net talks about life on the land do­ing what she loves

Warwick Daily News - South West Queensland Rural Weekly - - Front Page - CAS­SAN­DRA GLOVER Cas­san­dra.glover@ru­ral­weekly.com.au .

JUDY Bar­net loves her an­i­mals.

She runs free-range pigs and sheep on her 60-hectare prop­erty at Glen­lyon, east of Texas, with the help of her part­ner, Richie.

She has eight large black sows and three large black boars and their prog­eny, as well as 76 south­down ewes and four rams.

She also has 18 short­horn cat­tle on ag­ist­ment.

“At the mo­ment there are 20 ba­con pigs just about ready to go,” Ms Bar­net said.

“There are also 18 piglets just over a week old.”

Ms Bar­net said there had been no large black pigs in Queens­land since the 1960s un­til she bought them in 2001.

“Ev­ery large back pig in Queens­land would have come from my breed­ing orig­i­nally,” she said.

Ms Bar­net started farm­ing in Warwick in 1994.

Be­fore that she worked in ad­min­is­tra­tion in Bris­bane.

“In Warwick I had a small ayr­shire stud. I milked those and I was contract calf breed­ing,” she said.

“I moved to Glen­lyon in Septem­ber 2014, to con­cen­trate on my sheep stud and have a bet­ter coun­try for them and have a big­ger farm.

“One of the rea­sons we moved out here is it’s such a great life for them.

“It’s so shel­tered and they can go un­der the trees. It’s a much bet­ter life for the sheep and pigs out here.

“The coun­try wasn’t suitable for dairy cows so I sold most of those.”

Six months ago Ms Bar­net started her own pork busi­ness.

“I mostly do ham and ba­con be­cause that’s what the large blacks are mostly suitable for,” she said.

“My pigs get killed at Carey Bros abat­toir in Yan­gan and get pro­cessed by Boss Meats in Stan­thorpe, where they are turned into ni­trate-free ham and ba­con.

“I mostly sell through the Sea­sonal Feast Farm­ers Mar­kets at Warwick and Stan­thorpe.”

She sells some of her lambs through McDougall and Sons in Warwick and hopes to have her own stud sale in 2019.

“Most stud sales in Queens­land are just rams sales, but a lot of peo­ple want­ing to start up in pure­bred or stud sheep are want­ing to buy ewes as well,” she said

“So with the num­bers I’ve got now I thought I could have a ram and ewe sale, and peo­ple can start them­selves.

“I will try and have a sale once a year.”

Ms Bar­net wants to cre­ate a niche mar­ket for her free-range lamb, pork, and beef.

She is hop­ing to be­come part of the new Far­m­gate MSU ini­tia­tive.

“MSU stands for Meat Slaugh­ter Unit. It’s a mo­bile abat­toir,” she said.

“It was started down in Vic­to­ria and they’re cur­rently in the process of build­ing a truck that comes out to your farm.

“They’re go­ing to start their first hub in Vic­to­ria but they had a meet­ing about com­ing to Queens­land where I pro­vided an ex­pres­sion of in­ter­est.

“It’s the true pad­dock-to-plate ex­pe­ri­ence. They bring the truck out to your farm and they can kill 55 sheep or 11 cat­tle a day on the truck.

“So the an­i­mals don’t suf­fer any stress, they are killed where they were born ba­si­cally.”

Will­ing Work­ers on Or­ganic Farms is an or­gan­i­sa­tion of which Ms Bar­net has been a host since 2004.

Peo­ple come from all over the world to vol­un­teer work­ing on the farm in ex­change for room and board.

“It en­ables me to learn about peo­ple from other places and cul­tures. They work for about four hours a day for board and lodg­ings,” she said.

“It’s been a great ex­pe­ri­ence for me and we do ev­ery­thing to­gether. If we have a day off we go tour­ing and I show them lo­cal at­trac­tions.

“Klara, a mid­wife from Aus­tria is here at the mo­ment, and she’s only here for two weeks.

“I had an­other lady from Ger­many and she was here for four months. She works in Syd­ney now and she’s com­ing to visit me with her par­ents who are vis­it­ing from Ger­many.

“I’ve had peo­ple from South Korea, Switzer­land, Scot­land, Ja­pan, Ger­many, Aus­tria and Canada.”

❝ It’s a much bet­ter life for the sheep and pigs out here. — Judy Bar­net

Ms Bar­net said her next WWOOFer was com­ing af­ter Easter and was a butcher from Ger­many.

Along with her busy farm life, Ms Bar­net is also the di­rec­tor of the Rare­breeds Trust of Aus­tralia, the sec­re­tary and the trea­surer of the Queens­land branch of the Aus­tralian Pigs Breed­ers As­so­ci­a­tion, and has vol­un­teered for the High­fields Pi­o­neer Vil­lage for 18 years.

PHOTOS: CON­TRIB­UTED

EWE AND I: Judy Bar­net gives a hug to one of her south­down sheep.

BUF­FALO DREAM: Judy Bar­net has al­ways wanted a buf­falo.

Judy Bar­net hangs out with some of her large black pigs.

Judy Bar­net with some of her large black pigs.

Bath time for Judy Bar­net’s large black pigs.

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