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Beyond the Bale : June 2017
Jeff estimates that in his grain enterprise, his costs average between 45 and 65 cents for every $1.00 return. In stark contrast, his sheep business costs him just 25 cents per dollar return. "The stakes are much higher in the grains industry," he says. FAMILY BUSINESS Head stockman, and Jeff's daughter Chloe, has been back in the family business since 2013. A self-confessed animal lover, Chloe is now driving the livestock enterprise for the business. "I know most people don't love working with sheep," she laughs. "But I really enjoy it." "Drenching is physically the hardest of the jobs, but my capable team of dogs do a lot of the hard work for me." During shearing time, Chloe is more than happy to be in the professionally designed yards backlining the sheep after they have been shorn. "We've put concrete down on large parts of the yards to reduce the dust, so the work is much more enjoyable these days," she says. PROFITABLE BUSINESS Chloe says the business recently achieved wool forward contracts at levels around 1,500 c/kg greasy. "We were up around 1,330 cents last year, so wool has been very profitable for some time now," she says. The farm has significant areas of lighter soils, which translates to lower yielding flocks. It also means the clips are, on average, around 21 micron and Chloe says the business isn't focusing on reducing micron levels. "We are achieving between 65 and 66 per cent yields, which we are extremely happy with given that so much of our country is lighter sandier soils," Chloe says. "On the heavier country, the yields are in the high 60s. "Fleece yields are our focus rather than reducing the micron levels." The business produced 350 bales in 2016, but Jeff is hoping for an even bigger clip this year. "We've certainly come a long way since my grandfather tried, unsuccessfully at the first attempt, to secure a bank loan to purchase this block of land which, back then, was considered in the middle of nowhere," he says. "This shed was a huge outlay for our business, but it's now paying dividends and I'm incredibly glad we made the decision to invest in our wool enterprise." MORE INFORMATION Further images of the shed are available in an image gallery in the online version of Beyond the Bale available at http://beyondthebale.wool.com The business produced 350 bales in 2016, but Jeff is hoping for an even bigger clip this year. The new shed has a 5-stand raised board horse shoe design. The shed can hold 850 sheep, which allows for a whole day of shearing. Chloe is more than happy to be backlining the sheep in the professionally designed yards. ON FARM 45