G'day folks, I thought I would take this opportunity to post some pic's and update how things are going for those not on Face Book.
As I write this we are awaiting another storm to arrive, the rain over the last few months has been unrivalled in any other period we have owned the farm .On the upside we have never had this much pasture either ,and the sheep and lambs are looking a "treat" .Due to the nature of the new flock we can and are lambing at any time of the year .For some this would be a real issue but for me the time I now spend caring for Jenny is all consuming with little time to attend to the flock, which is OK as they tend to look after themselves anyway. The new program of little or no intervention is starting to pay off within the flock as they are so much stronger with regard to worms and other common and not so common diseases.
I have included some pics of our current pastures which have now almost returned to a totally natural system of a diverse species structure. Standing dry feed is left and it protects the pasture close to the ground from hot and cold weather events and it also controls the speed of moisture movement across the landscape.
The latest "drop" of lambs is showing that we are well on the way to achieving our preferred outcome of "no horns ,no wool and no natural tails." ,De-sexing is also a thing of the past as our target market customer prefers males to be "whole" as they are in their country of birth.
Jenny's condition continues down the eventual path, she frequently "regresses to her late teens and the times when our children were teens themselves". In spite of the fact we have been in this house for over 15 years she refuses to believe that this is her home and often demands to be taken home or when are we going home.
The radio program seems to be going from strength to strength and it has been requested that I increase the time to 1 hour and broadcast fortnightly and eventually weekly. The Face Book group is now over 1300 members, with female sheep people still over 70% of the total membership.
I have also been approached to be featured on a on-line platform for the leading Farmer organization in our state regarding our farm and flock and the way we approach our farming business. That will be interesting and we shall see how it all turns out.
I hope you all are able to enjoy the holiday break in spite of the ongoing threat of the Covid virus and I wish you all well in the coming year with your farming enterprise...T.O.R.
Frank, my heart breaks for you and your beloved Jenny. What a relief that the sheep can care for themselves while you care for your dear Jenny. You are the BEST husband.
You might set a new standard for Australia. If not the country, certainly for your state and area. Your lifetime of experience and the switch to hair sheep, your success in holding rainfall on your pastures, is something others can pattern themselves and their lands after.
Your whole message is to work with the land, not against it.
Jenny's disease is heartbreaking. Having made the switch to the new type of sheep farming you are doing has paid big dividends. It has given you the time you need to care for your darling Jenny while being able to continue your sheep ranching. Adjusting your sheep production to the sale market as you have done should be the goal of every producer.
I have gaps in my receipt of your postings - what radio program are you doing? I missed something there!
G'day folks, and "thank you "for your kind words. As for changing the livestock are farmed in Australia, I guess I may be able to convert a few ,but the majority are caught in the "clutches" of Big Ag and the Banks and to change seems un-achievable. The biggest challenge as with most things is the farmers "thinking" and the fact that a change of this scale means a drop in production in the first years as the land and the stock adapt to what is a "dramatic " change in the way the farm works, but once overcoming these hurdles there is no going back.
Ridge: The radio program is streamed "live" on the NET on Braidwood FM 88.9.Its on the first Tuesday at 10 am Australian Eastern Daylight Saving Time. The aim of the program is to assist "escapees" from suburbia to a rural lifestyle. I try to cover local conditions as well as things that impact Australia in regard to Agriculture.
I also post on Australian Painted Sheep (FaceBook).The have reproduced the latest edition for you to read and if you with I can post it each week going forward?
Hi group and welcome to what will be our last “chat “for the year. On the menu this week, around the farm, the new FTA with Britain, pasture news, new lamb ,we seem to be “on-track” with the program and The Boys Baking Club. You had better put the kettle on for this one.
After the last few years jenny and I seem to be in a good place, her condition is “stable” (most of the time, lol). The farm looks terrific, the sheep are well and a break in the rain means that we are being set up for a tremendous start to the coming year.
I was chatting to a local lady this week and she said,” our family has been farming in the district for 70 years ,and this is the best season ever” .It’s my view, that “now”, is the time to start planning for the eventual change in the rain and weather conditions, as you will read and see later our pastures are geared to whatever nature is going to send us.
As an aside, I had a chat to our GP (doctor) this week about Jenny and our plans going forward and as we left, I asked,” What does your Jenny think of the eggs?” (I often drop her in a dozen when we have extra). His reply was the following, ”I always know when we are having your eggs, what is the difference from “shop eggs”? I replied, “chickens are chickens, it’s the way we feed them that makes the difference, they are not “free range” because of the foxes, but their feed is completely balanced and reflects the way they would get nutrition in the wild”.
The meadow around the house (I would not “dare” to call it lawn, (lol) is growing at apace now with the warm days and so I have let another ewe and lamb group in to take advantage of the diversity of plants, seeds and flowers. Today (Sat) it is really quite warm, with a warm wind to boot. The sheep have grazed all morning and are now “laying up” in the shade of some English Hawthorns the leaves of which are a favorite food, (although those who think only Natives should be encouraged, disapprove!). If our farm was on land which had suffered under the old 1 bag of Sper per year (we only have a small section like that and it refuses to grow Euc’s or any Native species) I would plant a forest of trees from the Northern Hemisphere, instead on our place we have a mostly Native Grassland with a Native Woodland nearby.
The govt was this week “crowing” about a new Free Trade Agreement with Britain but, when you read the “fine print”, it will be 15 years before we get non- tariff entry of Agricultural products like Beef and lamb. Funny the minster did not mention that?
Pasture News, I have included a number of photos showing the present state of some of our Grasslands including the fact that Native Sorghum is now flowering ,as is Microleanna, Kangaroo Grass seed is now starting to mature .Our Clovers continue to be “protected” by the standing drying pasture which mostly holds the wind off of it to stall the “drying” effect. Native Sorghum, clumping type,brown flowers with what looks like an upside down skirt at the first node. We started with just 2 plants found by a Botanist it has now spread over almost 200acs. Our Microleanna thrives in our restored woodlands as per the photos. I have included several photos of our now seeding Kangaroo Grass, as an aside my neighbor (a real farmer, lol) remarked to me in the mid-winter that I should burn off this whole paddock to produce more grass. ” How much more grass do I need”? I added a photo of a developing Euc Viminarlis woodland, the stand is about 8 years old and is undergoing "natural thinning".
The new lamb shown is exactly the type we want in the future, no wool, no horns and a great “fat tail”. I expect that the next generation will contain a much larger % of this type. The other lamb ,(they are both Rams) is a few months old now are quite “tight” in their conformation and so I think I will use a Aussie White X WH dorper X Wilitipol to generate extra length in the finished ewe Composite.
The Boys Baking Club. This week did a new batch of fruit buns, putting the Cinnamomum Vanilla Sugar in the dry mix, I think you will agree they look much better this time? As I write I have a Crusty White, proving, and will bake it in a “clay pot”. I will post a photo when it is baked.
So, all that remains is to wish all the group, the very best in Health, Happiness and a Productive Flock for the coming year whenever your calendar begins. This last year has been so “rewarding” for me as Admin because you are such a “wonderful” group of sheep people.
P.S. In breaking news it seems that the farm is going to be featured in a publication in Jan .I will be sure to let you all know when it occurs.
Frank and Jenny Egan, Braidwood N.S.W. Australia.
Wow! It looks like you are spreading your experience to lots of people. Hopefully they will take advantage of it. Improving pasture the natural way is the best way to ensure that it will be able to raise livestock during both "good" years and "bad" years. Nature is not static, and those who depend on nature for farming and ranching need to learn how to keep our pastures and farmlands fertile and productive.