IT may be an unconventional approach on Kangaroo Island, but Simon and Madelyn Kelly have a strong focus on on wool production and producing good returns.
Farming between Stokes Bay and Parndana at Mine Creek on 950 hectares of arable land, their property carries about 8000 dry sheep equivalent of Merinos.
They run a high-proportion of wethers - about 3000 - and another 2000 ewes and 1200 weaner lambs.
Simon's reasoning behind the focus on wool is simple passion.
"Woolgrowing is the type of farming I like," he said.
"I think it makes sense to do what you enjoy."
Ever since his grandfather settled in the area in 1936, Mine Creek has always had a strong focus on wool production.
There has been some cropping on the property over the years, while the Kellys also run a few crossbred lambs and a handful of cattle for their own consumption.
"I think wool is the least affected by freight costs here on the island," Simon said.
"You can get $1000 for a bale of wool and it is only $10 or $11 in freight, but you can send a truckload of crossbred lambs to the mainland and get charged $10 a head in freight and get $100/hd for the lambs.
"If you can get your stocking rate up per hectare, you can make good money out of wool."
The Kellys' flock is based on bloodlines from the Heinrich family's Ella Matta stud which is nearby.
Simon feels privileged to have such a progressive stud close by.
"Andrew (Heinrich) is up with AI and that sort of thing, so I tend to ride on his coat tails and benefit from his expertise," he said.
With worms such a pressing issue on the Kelly farm, Simon selects rams with good worm figures.
He is a member of the local sheep production group on the island who work with local vets.
"The vets give us quite good advice and help us with things such as drench-resistance tests," he said.
"We seem to be having some success in the battle and there are new varieties of drench we are yet to use."
Ewes are joined at the start of January so the lambs are bigger by the time summer rolls around and feed tapers off.
Simon has recorded strong lambing percentages, backed up by an extensive pregnancy-testing program to weed out any dry ewes.
The Kellys mules their sheep with the aid of pain relief. Simon says this effectively combats flystrike.
Sheep are shorn in March for a number of reasons: the position of break is on the tip of the wool, so they can get maximum price for a bale and shearing in March - before lambing - means, if they lose a few ewes during the process (and because the sheep are bare-shorn), no fleece is lost.
"It's also easier to get shearers that time of the year, and you get less wet sheep and hassles with rain," Simon said.
This year, the Kellys cut about 220 bales of 19-micron wool, a figure that has been about that average for the past three years.
Simon said this figures was probably closer to 21M or 22M 15 years ago but, with the development in genetics during that time, he has been able to improve it.
* Full report in Stock Journal, September 12 issue, 2013.