ON Friday last week, Sam Mumford said they "cranked up" their feedlot at Duncan for the first time since the devastating 2019-20 Kangaroo Island bushfires.
"We had used it for containment feeding, but now that we have built up enough cattle, we thought it was time to start making money again," he said.
They are currently feeding about 240 Angus-Simmental steers and "keeper" heifers in the AQIS-accredited feedlot.
"They knew how much we had lost and fought to make sure I didn't lose my house as well," Mr Mumford said at the time.
"Our properties have a 25-kilometre spread, you would have thought we should have been right not to lose them all. But when the fire front was 40km wide, we didn't stand a chance. In our five-mile circle, there was 22 houses. Now there are two."
The Mumfords lost their first property at Gosse on December 20; three - which includes his brother's place - on January 3; and then the 'home block' on January 9.
They had 747 cattle and 3445 sheep perish in the fires; more than 2000 hectares of grazing country burnt, along with two houses and five machinery and storage sheds.
They've so far replaced six sheds, including a "kick ass" new shearing shed, but three sets of new cattle yards were still on the to-do list.
"We don't quite have the numbers to warrant it yet," he said.
This year we plan to be back selling lines to Woolworths again.- SAM MUMFORD
Mr Mumford said their crossbred ewe numbers were finally back to pre-fire levels, but they only have about half of their beef breeders, after losing nearly 800 in the fires.
"We were only left with about 80-odd cows after the fires," he said.
"We run composite cows, so we have had to mainly breed back up instead of buying in.
"We are pretty pleased to have bred up to 420 females that will calve this year, while 4500 ewes will be in with rams - after having only 900 left after the fire.
"This year we plan to be back selling lines to Woolworths again."
Mr Mumford said he went through some very dark times after the fires, after losing so much.
"But I also lost my dog since the fire and that put my situation in perspective a bit," he said.
"I spent 24 hours a day for 10 years with that dog, some things you can replace and some thing you can't, but we're doing okay.
"I've got a brand new, kick ass shearing shed - the old shed was a horrible design and was small, with the new shed we can put the entire property's stock undercover in one day - it's just chalk and cheese.
"We also have new sheep yards that make everything flow better."
RELATED READING: Lindner stands by CFS effort
RELATED READING: KI locals pushing for park fire breaks, prescribed burns
Mr Mumford said they have also nearly completed the replacement of about 150km of fencing, with only about 4km to go.
"Hopefully that's finished by late spring," he said.
And because the business is not at full capacity, the Mumfords have been able to grow 300ha of stock feed.
"The winter wasn't kind, but we had a fabulous spring," he said.
They also plan to replace the houses they lost, but have put that on hold until others have been completed.
Mr Mumford said one concern had been the volunteer move away from CFS towards more farm fire units.
"People have become a little disillusioned with the CFS, not locally, but from headquarters," he said.
"I've been with the CFS for 32 years - I fought the fires for about 45 days - but yet I have been told I am not competent.
"However the local increased farm firefighting drive has meant everyone is a lot more aware and prepared these days.
"We have had lightning storms this summer already and there has been fires, but we have gotten on top of them straight away."
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.