Matt, thanks for agreeing to be this month’s Farmer in Focus! Can you give us a bit of background on yourself, your family and your farm?
Our property is called Pinelea. We’re situated in the Terricks east of Pyramid Hill. I work on the farm with my wife Gemma and parents Andrew and Marie. We run 1,600 merino ewes and crop roughly 2,900HA, on a minimum tillage system.
How long have you been farming for?
I’ve been on the farm since I finished school (2001) so it’s been 19 years now. I completed a farming apprenticeship on the family farm.
How do you find working as a family operation? Have you got set roles, how do you manage yourselves?
We don’t really have set roles. We talk on a daily basis about what needs doing and get it done. Mum does the books, dad and I work the farm and Gemma helps out in the sheep yards whilst managing the kids.
What has been happening on the farm recently?
We’ve been spraying the last of the broad leaf weeds and applying fungicides, spray fallowing fresh county, shifting a bit of grain and weaning lambs. We’ve recently installed a new hay shed.
What are the challenges you’re seeing now, there’s always something you’ve got to keep your mind on?
At the moment we are just keeping an eye out for any rust, keeping in mind that it’s supposed to be a wet spring. And watching for any weed escapes, that may affect our cropping program next year.
A challenge for now and down the track will be the fall in wool prices.
What are your plans for the farm in 2021?
The farm program doesn’t change much, we join the same number of ewes year in, year out. Our cropping program is generally pretty set, with our rotations of canola, wheat, barley, vetch and field peas.
Who do you rely on for advice?
We rely on a local agronomist for advice on our cropping. We are also involved in a farming futures program which helps us with planning, farm-specific financial guidance, etc.
And lastly, what is the best advice you’ve been given as a farmer or in life?
Timing is everything. If you are going to do it, do it right.