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Beyond the Bale : September 2018
ON FARM 39 FURTHER LEARNING Rhys, with the support of Maude and the Dowrene Farm Aboriginal Corporation is now embarking on a second year of the LTEM course, again delivered by Dr Perry Dolling. “This second year has more of a focus on the whole-of-farm implications of managing the ewe flock and involves preparing ewes and rams for the next reproductive cycle, feeding sheep in tough times, optimising lambing results and undertaking a cost- benefit analysis of managing sheep to LTEM targets,” Dr Dolling said. “All of the participants in this group have embraced the concepts of sheep farming, even though many of them had no prior knowledge of the industry. “I think Rhys is the perfect example of someone who has the passion to learn about the subject and pick it up quickly, and that’s applicable to any person in the program. “By the end of the program, I would be extremely confident that all of the participants could run a sheep enterprise on their own.” Rhys said the second year has been critical due to the late break in the season and the changes to feeding and sheep management that is required to meet this challenge. “This year we have focused on issues concerned with dry times and are building up skills to be able to best manage these dry situations. The second year also focuses on preparing ewes and rams for joining, so at the end of this year when preparing my ewes and rams I will have extra knowledge to apply.” BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS Not only does LTEM give participants a bank of knowledge, it also facilitates farmer to farmer relationships and knowledge sharing. “The comradeship between other sheep producers and Noongars with interest in sheep has made the whole learning experience very enjoyable,” Rhys said. To support Rhys and the Dowrene farm management, Ian Walsh, a local farmer, is Rhys’ mentor to help in the establishment and day-to-day management of the Dowrene sheep enterprise. “We’ve been farming here since 1957, and hopefully we can help Dowrene to run a profitable enterprise. We’ve developed quite a good working relationship, and also a friendship,” Ian said. “The Noongar model looks after and cares for the land and if Dowrene, with its dedication and enthusiasm, can rub off onto other enterprises, it will be a great model to follow.” The Noongar model Ian speaks of is built on sustainability and working with the natural resources of the land. Rhys hopes that through his management Dowrene Farm will be a sustainable farming model that draws on the knowledge gained from courses such as LTEM. “We had an environmental study with a management plan prepared by an environmental scientist. It is reviewed often, and over the past 15 years we have improved the property’s biodiversity. This emphasis on biodiversity has a very strong connection to our Noongar culture,” Rhys said. “Noongars in the past have been major contributors to Western Australia’s sheep industry. We seek to once again have Noongars play a major role in the sheep industry and our small beginnings will hopefully lead to that outcome.” Rhys Bonshore (right) learning about pasture assessment. Dowrene Farm Manager Rhys Bonshore with his mother Maude Bonshore who is the Chairperson of the Dowrene Farm Aboriginal Corporation. DrenchMaster CrutchMaster Anti-Backer Sheep-handling just got easier! Effective, efficient and safe solutions for all your drenching, crutching and handling needs. 1-800-750-584 For more info go to www.perkinz.com.au N e w 201 8 Mod e l
In the Shops - September 2018