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Beyond the Bale : September 2016
After studying commerce at the University of Melbourne and working in the audit and corporate finance industries for more than seven years, David Taylor moved back to the family farm ‘Kenilworth’ near Campbell Town in 2010. The Taylors run a 1,400ha mixed farming enterprise primarily consisting of a self- replacing Merino flock, Merino stud, dual- purpose flock, poppies and some cereal and seed production. David’s former career has given him a broader than usual perspective on farming, and he is keen to see some more positivity exhibited by the wool industry. “There is too much unwarranted pessimism associated with the industry,” he says. “Perhaps this is a carry-over from the previous generation being crippled in the early 1990s which has been hard to move past, but surely after 25 years and the sell-off of the stock pile we can move on and think of wool in a more positive light. “I believe the current levels of the Australian wool market are very strong and growers should be comfortable with current pricing levels.” The Taylors have been in the wool-growing business for many generations, and while David naturally has a sentimental affection for the fibre, the real reason Merinos are still the focus of the business is due to a very unsentimental reason: they are profitable. “Indicator prices have been pretty solid since I returned to the farm six years ago. Our wool income has been fairly consistent; it certainly doesn't fluctuate like our income from poppies which can be unreliable. “I keep saying I don’t really care what we produce as long as it is making money, but that's probably a bit of a lie because I can’t see myself being a dairy farmer,” he laughed. Woolgrower and Campbell Town Show president David Taylor on his property near Campbell Town, Tasmania. PHOTO: Nikki Davis Jones / Newspix LOOKING TO THE FUTURE While wool-growing has been in the blood of David Taylor’s family for generations, his early career saw him donning a suit and tie every day for the finance industry in the city far from the family farm. Now that he is back home and taking over the reins of the family business, he can clearly see wool’s benefit to his own bottom line. FOCUS ON THE FARMING David with his wife Jo and two young children moved from the ‘cottage’ to the ‘main house’ at ‘Kenilworth’ in February last year, with his mother and father “relegated” to the cottage. However, David’s father is still very much active on the farm and his mother with the stud sheep. “We are nearing the end of a long-winded succession planning process (about five years) which will be locked in and signed away at the end of this calendar year. Part of the delay was due to my younger brother, Simon, playing AFL football for a few years at Hawthorn. He wanted the opportunity to experience the ‘real working world’ for a few years before being in a position to agree to the final plan.” David believes that as long as there is a critical mass of Merino sheep to drive wool production, the wool industry has a positive future. “In the past five or so years there has been constant media attention on the positive impact of sheep meat prices on grower incomes, which I agree with. However, I believe that there has also been a similar incremental return from the wool aspect of the business. “I believe each woolgrower should focus on their own production systems and make decisions that are good for their own business, and not worry about stuff they can’t control. It is safe to say that if you don’t look after your own production system – nobody else will.” At the end of the day, David reckons that most of the drivers in each wool-growing business come back to volume. “Keep your stocking rates optimal, keep your volume up and the price looks after itself. Optimising your stocking rate helps maximise your livestock revenue and net profit per hectare or net profit per DSE. “It is just a matter of growing enough autumn feed to get through the winter before you get the spring flush.” “Keep your stocking rates optimal, keep your volume up and the price looks after itself.” David Taylor “The self-replacing wool enterprise has been a pretty good business to be in for the past six years.” David Taylor 50 ON FARM
In the Shops - September 2016