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Beyond the Bale : December 2018
YARNS FROM MILLPOST MERINO Millpost is a family farm that has been in David Watson’s family since 1922 and now has three generations in residence. They currently run about 2,000 Saxon Poll Merinos with 16-18 micron wool on the 1,100 hectare property. Millpost is one of the oldest broadscale Permaculture farms in Australia, the system having been implemented there since 1979. The family, including sons Harry, Roy and Murray, takes a stewardship approach to the land and prefers to work with, rather than against, nature. Their challenge is to “Millpost Merino is an exciting new direction for our family farm. After more than thirty years of selling all our wool at auction, we took the plunge and sent the best of our clip off to be processed and spun into colourful balls of wool and hanks of natural-coloured yarn,” Judith said. The yarn is available to buy on the Millpost Merino website and at a selection of retail outlets in NSW and Victoria. While the majority of the wool grown at Millpost is still sent to Sydney for auction, the family is hoping to extend their range in the future to include garments made from Millpost wool. MERINO FLOCK IS CENTRAL TO PROFITABILITY The quality of the wool of the Millpost Merino flock is central to the profitability of the farm. More than 90% of farm income is from the sale of wool and surplus sheep. Millpost has light, shaley, sedimentary soils which support native pasture suitable for sheep and fine wool production. The Watsons are doing their best to match their grazing program to the available perennial native pastures that thrive on Millpost, using Holistic Management. HM, which was developed in Africa by Alan Savory, mimics the natural grazing systems of the vast grasslands where large herds of herbivores intensively graze, trample and fertilise the pasture for a Judith Turley and David Watson with their eldest son Harry in the lush surrounds of Millpost. demonstrate that it’s possible to live off the land while improving it at the same time. “Our goal is to produce a high-quality, high- value fibre by utilising planned grazing methods and landscape regeneration strategies,” David said. Features of the Permaculture system that have been implemented over forty years at Millpost include: gravity-fed water supplies for domestic and stock use, repair of erosion gullies, soil improvement, establishment of approximately fifteen kilometres of windbreaks by planting and direct seeding native trees and shrubs, home-grown vegetables, fruit, meat, dairy produce and eggs, and installation of a 10KW solar panel array. MILLPOST MERINO YARN As perhaps with other wool-growing families, it has been a disappointment to the Watsons that, once shearing was over, their last glimpse of their wool clip would be at auction before it was shipped away overseas. “Millpost Merino is an exciting new direction for our family farm.” Judith Turley, Millpost Because of this, and also to align with the Permaculture philosophy of local self- reliance, the family decided to value-add by starting to produce Millpost Merino yarn. 16 OFF FARM
In the Shops - March 2019