Sunday, 20 November 2016

To Market To Market

We run a tight ship here, managing our stock numbers according to the seasons and the acreage available.
Recently, another two blocks of grazing land amounting to roughly thirty acres, was offered to us for our use. This is an offer too good to pass up, so we had to go to market to buy more sheep.
The temperature was in the low thirties, the first warm day for us this season, and the flies were out in force. I looked like I was at a funeral with my fly net, but I didn't want to buy a pen of sheep unwittingly with any vigorous fly swatting gestures. :)
Prices are still high, so we picked out a few pens of possibilities, using the plan A, plan B, plan C method.
Plan A was a pen of twenty crossbreed lambs, mostly ewes, which we planned to bid up to $100 each. As the wool clip is not worth much for crossbreeds, we need to have ewes for the view of breeding some lambs to get a return on our investment. The few wethers (castrated males) in the lot, would be grown on and sold at a profit before they became classed as Hogget at one year old.
All of our other ewes at home are Merinos, for the high priced wool clip, plus the lamb they breed each year. We prefer to buy Merinos, but we knew we had to take what was on offer at this market. The grass in the new blocks is high and needs immediate grazing.
If plan A was successful, we didn't need to action plans B or C.

Brian started the bidding at $80 and we got them for $95 each plus GST. They need shearing, and that put many bidders off, as shearers are hard to find lately.  Brian shears our sheep very capably, as he went along to a TAFE course ten years ago, so here's another advantage to being self reliant.
So they will all be shorn this week, a few each evening after work, before being loaded onto the trailer and taken to the one of the new blocks.
As they are this year's lambs, they will grow on for another year before we put them with a ram, and will expect lambs from them in May-June 2018.

This is what our home block looks likes right now.  A little greener than is usual at this time of year due to a wet winter and spring, with occasional showers almost weekly.
The twenty nine large round hay bales have all been brought into the hay storage yard, each one sitting on a plastic pallet to keep the bottoms off the ground and dry.
The regrowth in the hay paddocks is still pushing, so the cows have been allowed access to the delicious new fresh shoots. Our block goes all the way up to the top of the hill.
In the middle of the picture are most of our bee hives on trailers, for ease of moving. As soon as the Salvation Jane in our neighbor's paddock finishes flowering, we will move them to another location to make use of the Red Gum flowers.
We're holding another bee-keeping workshop next weekend and the students will be checking and performing maintenance on the hives under Brian's guidance.
There's never a dull moment around here, the weekend has been full, just the way we like it.
Cheers, X


  1. loving what you do, one day i hope to do it a much smaller scale. i get people telling me i can have sheep here but it's only 1 & half acres of not very good grass. growing my own wool is appealing, now there's another craft i've yet to learn, spinning!
    great post
    thanx for sharing

    1. My spinning wheel has sat idle for the past two years, but alpaca is the best to spin, by far. Perhaps an alpaca would do well there Selina?


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