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Beyond the Bale : December 2010
December 2010 BEYOND THE BALE 18 ON-FARM Sarah McMeniman is passionate about the future for sheep and wool production in Queensland's high country. Buoyed by a return to favourable seasons, she and husband Michael have set about rebuilding the flock on their property Redgate, between Stanthorpe and Texas. The couple have had a tough initiation with a string of drought years since they moved to the district seven years ago. "We had to sell down our wethers and last year was so dry we didn't even join our ewes,' Sarah said. They are planning to re-build flock numbers from a low 2700 to about 5000 with Merino replacements this year. Eager to learn all she can about the industry, Sarah has been an active member of the Traprock Group where she was Secretary for about five years and this year has taken on chair of the Best Practice Committee. Now she has joined the South East Regional Committee of the Queensland producer network Leading Sheep. She believes the two roles will be complementary. The self-help Traprock Group has built a regional wool production and marketing brand and been a leader in sustainable landscape management and catchment planning. Leading Sheep, which is backed by AWI and the Queensland Government, extends the latest industry research and innovation to producers. "I'm a big believer in education and always learning how to do things better," Sarah said. Their focus has been on fine Merino wool production in the 16 to 17 micron range with a bale of their wool selling for the second highest price in the country for that particular sale. They use plain bodied genetics and management strategies to control flystrike. "It means a bit more work to keep flies at bay, especially in such a good season when lambs in wet grass are getting struck on the neck and shoulder," Sarah said. They dip their sheep after shearing and apply a backline chemical in January and crutch in March. They follow an environmental management program through the Traprock Group and have used The Merino Company's wool pooling facility as another way of marketing their sustainably managed unmulesed wool. FAST FACTS l Queensland woolgrower Sarah McMeniman and her husband are rebuilding their flock following a return to favourable seasons. l Sarah is a member of the Leading Sheep state network in Queensland and values learning about new research, innovations and practices from other producers. Passionate recruit to Leading Sheep Queensland woolgrower Sarah McMeniman and dog Basil