IT IS a busy time of year for South East producer Andrew Brodie, with lambing getting under way, while seeding gears up.
His mobile seed cleaning business, Reynolds Seed Service, based at Mount Light, south of Naracoorte, has been going non-stop since harvest started in November, and even more so now it has rained.
The service supports graingrowers in the upper and Lower SE, as well as in the Vic Wimmera region.
Andrew farms with wife Katie with sons Logan, 12, Archie, 9, and Austin ,7, also running 1500 breeding ewes across 500 hectares of owned and leased land in the region, including at Comaum just across the Vic border.
The flock comprises 300 Merino ewes, mated to Border Leicester rams for first-cross ewe production, while the remaining head are first-cross ewes mated to Poll Dorset sires for prime lamb production.
"We would love to be farming full-time, but we don't quite have enough land for that yet," Andrew said.
So for now, the two businesses are keeping them busy, often at the same time of the year.
My grandfather always sold his wool at shearing time because he believed if you're always trying to figure out when the best time of year is to sell, it can become a bit of a gamble.
It is one of the reasons why the family sell their wool straight after shearing.
Shearing occurs late October/early November - around the same time that grading of harvested canola seed commences.
While they have sold at auction in the past, Andrew said they often took advantage of the nett price offered by Quality Wool.
"My grandfather always sold his wool at shearing time because he believed if you're always trying to figure out when the best time of year is to sell, it can become a bit of a gamble," he said.
"He found if you sell wool at the same time every year, it averages out over your lifetime and now we do the same.
"We obviously we won't sell if prices are $2 a kilogram, but it is generally reasonable money around that time.
"Plus we don't have much storage so we have to offload it relatively quickly."
The family sells through Brendan Cobbledick at Quality Wool Naracoorte.
"Brendan tells you straight up about the market - he calls a spade a spade," Andrew said.
"We get the wool shorn, take it straight in, test it, work out the good lines and we sell it.
"They also offer to pick it up for me, which is great because it is a busy time for us."
GREATEST RESULT ACHIEVED AFTER FINING OF FLOCK
THE Brodie family's clip primarily comprises first-cross wool, with some Merino, averaging about 28 micron.
But this past year, Andrew Brodie speculated whether it was the drier season at their Mount Light property in the South East or possibly even new genetics from a Lameroo producer that had contributed to a finer micron average, about the 26M mark.
It resulted in the best prices they had ever received, he said.
"Normally crossbred wool sells for about $5 a kilogram - last year we got up to $8/kg," he said.
This season has also started positiviely in that lambing is under way on to green feed "for once", Mr Brodie said.
"This time last year was terrible," he said.
"We are still handfeeding hay and grain three times a week though."
Most of their second-cross lambs are sold over-the-hooks during October/November.
"Depending on the year, we aim to sell them off their mothers or as weaners in the 21-24kg dressedweight range," Mr Brodie said.
"We are not aiming for heavy export lambs, we target the trade. Our agent from Thomas DeGaris & Clarkson finds the best deal for us and that's where we send them.
"With how busy the seed cleaning business is, I don't have much time to dwell on livestock decisions so I often put trust in people that are in the know.''
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