Sheep ‘paying the bills’

Sheep 'paying the bills' for southern NSW farming family


Sheep
Emma Morris, 13, and her mum Katrina with Eamon Timms at Fox & Lillie’s show florr.

Emma Morris, 13, and her mum Katrina with Eamon Timms at Fox & Lillie’s show florr.

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Wool and prime lambs are “paying the bills” at the mixed farming operation ‘Ricka Veera’ in Ardlethan, NSW, according to Katrina Morris.

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Wool and prime lambs are “paying the bills” at the mixed farming operation ‘Ricka Veera’ in Ardlethan, NSW, according to Katrina Morris.

Ms Morris and daughter Emma, 13, travelled to the Fox & Lillie showfloor in Laverton North, a suburb of Melbourne, today to see their wool before it was offered for sale.

The family sold some wool in February but the lots that were offered today had 12 months’ growth, whereas the lots sold earlier only had six months.

Ms Morris said the valuations worked out in favour of six-monthly shearings for them. She said they’d also found the ewes with less wool at lambing had less troubles and bounced back more quickly.

But a lack of rain and very severe frosts have impacted their grazing conditions.

“The frosts have killed off new growth and grazing areas and new wheat we would have grazed has been knocked about,” Ms Morris said.

In previous years their mixed farming operation had a bigger emphasis on cropping than sheep, but she said they were growing the sheep numbers and would like the operation to be half-half.

They buy Merino ewes from the top-end of the big-framed lots on offer at Hay or Jerilderie and have even bought some from South Australia.

Ms Morris said it was worthwhile to buy quality ewes.

The join them to White Suffolk rams.

In the past season, the family has found sheep to be a great risk management tool, especially when they “only got $140 (a tonne) for barley at the start of the year”, according to Ms Morris.

Emma is a student at St Paul’s at Walla Walla and has started with its sheep showing team, so the mother and daughter duo took the chance during the school holidays to see their wool on display.

They’re planning to stop into the Australian Sheep and Wool Show in Bendigo – which kicks off tomorrow – on their way home. 

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