This blog was originally written back in November, sorry we dropped the ball on posting over the summer, so here we are again!
Another spring rolls to a close at Millpost, and we have plenty to reflect on. We had an
excellent lambing, as would be expected given the conditions, and the lambs are doing well
on their mothers. We had some minor foot abscess problems with the ewes, especially
amongst the twinners, but as things have dried off a bit most have recovered.
A wet spring throws up very different challenges to a dry one, and in addition to the foot
abscess, we had some difficulty keeping sheep dry to allow shearing. Eventually we got it all
done though, and the wool has finally left the wool shed in the past week. We have some
already in New Zealand being spun as I write, so all missing yarn colours will be replaced
soon, never fear. We are also having some sock yarn made, for Lindner Socks at Crookwell,
so keep an eye out for Millpost/Lindner socks in the new year.
David and I travelled up to Wellington in early October for the Glenwood ram sale, and
managed to come home with three new rams despite red hot competition and an average
ram price over $3000. We are very excited about the improvements we are seeing in our
young sheep as a result of using Glenwood genetics, and looking forward to our first ¾
Glenwood lambs in 2021. SRS sheep characteristics are rapidly becoming mainstream in the
merino industry as people like us catch on to the benefits of plain bodied, mules free, fertile
sheep with beautiful wool. It was great to see the verdant countryside right up through the
NSW Central West, such a change from the last few years. Congratulations to Norm and Pip
Smith on a great sale.
Back at home, and the wildflowers continue to brighten our paddocks, with the early orchids and yam daisies giving way to lilies like the nodding chocolate lily, fringe lily, and vanilla lily (right and below). Our black wattles (Acacia mearnsii) are all in flower, and their heady scent is at times almost overpowering. November has been quite warm, but we’ve had enough downpours and rainy days to keep things growing at an incredible rate. We’ve been able to
allow our native pastures and woodlands to go ungrazed by sheep all through spring, and
hopefully some of the damage wrought by the drought and kangaroos over the last few
years is healing.
Our sheep are all back in one mob after lambing, and they are chewing their way through grass up to five feet high as we try to get the fuel load down around the houses and sheds (top). Daily moves on to fresh tucker means their nutrition is excellent, and we have had no need to drench or jet for flystrike so far this year. Moving them daily (where possible) means we can catch any health issues early if they do emerge. Our next challenge is likely to be grass seed, and we are carefully monitoring the nastier species like spear grass and needle grass – as soon as they ripen we will have to move the sheep to different paddocks to avoid trouble.
Off farm, I have had the opportunity to visit some wonderful regenerative farms across the
South West Slopes and Riverina over the past few months, while carrying out Ecological
Outcomes Verification (EOV) monitoring for the Land to Market Co-op we are a part of.
Every farm we visited was inspirational, and it was great to be reminded of the exciting
things happening all over the country in the regenerative agriculture movement. Aside from
the privilege of seeing beautiful farms, learning new plants, and meeting great people, some
- Trying merino milk cheese near Narrandera (verdict: exquisite)
- swimming in the swollen Murrumbidgee
- emu spotting near Jerilderie
- Grand old woolshed tours (very exciting for me)
- Being able to find good coffee just about every town we went (well done Australia)
- Mostly though, the hospitality of our hosts, and their often surprising and fascinating
I am already looking forward to returning next year (hopefully when it’s a bit cooler).