Childhood dream comes true in Bendigo

Ag's new breed Grace Calder turns a childhood dream into reality


Sheep and Wool Show News
NEW BREED: Grace Calder, Kinatura Corriedales, has forged a career inspired by an agriculture program at her suburban Melbourne secondary school. Photo by Ruby Canning.

NEW BREED: Grace Calder, Kinatura Corriedales, has forged a career inspired by an agriculture program at her suburban Melbourne secondary school. Photo by Ruby Canning.

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Ag's new breed Grace Calder turns a childhood dream into reality.

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When Grace Calder was just 6-years-old, she dreamed of owning a horse stud whimsically named Kinatura.

On the weekend, the now 26-year-old's stud, Kinatura, won reserve champion senior Corriedale ewe after claiming the over 2.5-year-old March shorn ewe, second for the over 1.5 year-old July-shorn ewe and three thirds at the Australian Sheep & Wool Show in Bendigo.

They are wins all the more precious for being hard won.

Ms Calder's family is not from the land, so her first contact with sheep came when the Australian Corriedale Association had sheep donated to her school, Woodleigh, on Melbourne's suburban fringe.

"I worked with the ag teacher, Joanne Hellard, now Wheeler, to set up a stud and lead the team until I finished year 12," she said.

"I opened my own stud in year 12, too, entirely on agistment until last year, when we bought our own farm not far from Creswick."

Ms Calder and her partner, David Swain, have 10 hectares of their own and lease another 16.

The smallholding has already made a big difference to the operation of Kinatura.

"The security of a home base has allowed us to make investments based on that security, that we couldn't have done during the eight or nine years we were agisting," she said.

"We both work full-time and don't expect that to change but the off-farm income also allows us to make investments that may not pay off in the short-term but allow the business to grow."

Those investments have included top quality sheep yards kitted out with electronic identification technology for more detailed and accurate record-keeping to support Kinatura's entry into LambPlan in the next year or so.

It makes a lot of sense to Ms Calder, who works as an electronic identification expert for Agriculture Victoria.

She is already tagging and mothering up lambs at birth and will use the ID system to record birth weights and mothering scores, as well as implement traceability.

In the medium-term, she is focusing on finding new leased land to build equity in livestock that will fund more property purchases in the pursuit of a grander vision.

"My 25-year plan is a 10,000 DSE operation," she said.

It seems Ms Calder doesn't have a moment's doubt about the carefully set-out, long-term plan.

"David is a relationship manager for Rural Bank and with my technical agriculture background, we make a great team," she said.

"We're really trying to have a crack and everything we've achieved has been off our own back.

"It's great to have a win in the show ring but the wins you have in the paddock are what really count."

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