Chris keen to keep Roundwood in the family

01 Aug, 2018 11:53 AM
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Like father, like son. Chris Wray (left) inspects the crop with his dad Tim.
Like father, like son. Chris Wray (left) inspects the crop with his dad Tim.

THE Wray family has seen 120 years of successful family farming at Broomehill, with current owner Tim Wray happy to work side-by-side with his son and next-generation farmer, Chris.

After completing his boilermaker apprenticeship in 2016, Chris has spent the past two harvests at home and most of this year on the farm with his dad.

Helping with seeding and now driving the sprayer, Chris sees himself being a farmer and becoming the fifth-generation to run Roundwood.

“I think I could see myself here and my trade helps when things are broken,” Chris said.

Tim said it lightened his workload when Chris was home.

“He drives all the gear and he is spraying for me at the moment,” Tim said.

“I was almost redundant last year with my other son on the chaser and Chris on the header.”

Tim keeps himself busy with 2020 hectares in Broomehill and another lease block 38 kilometres south where he runs sheep.

The lease block has similar rainfall although there is more sand country and non-wetting soil.

“We don’t do a lot of crop there and it’s more for the sheep,” Tim said.

“It has been tough.

“We are lambing, which is not ideal with the conditions.”

Running 6500 sheep, 2000 of those breeding ewes, Tim said he had been feeding them since last year and will continue to feed them until the pastures are ready.

“It will be a while until they see a pasture because we have enough grain to keep them off it,” he said.

With a majority of the program to wheat, 550ha to Benito canola and the rest to barley, Tim said he was happy with how the cropping side of things had panned out so far this season.

“We didn’t start seeding till May 18 and we put the canola in with very dry conditions,” he said.

“Usually we would start when there is a bit of moisture and we aren’t the ones to start by a calendar.

“We put it all in dry and on June 10 we got 31 millimetres over the weekend, which was our break in the season and that’s when it all germinated.”

Tim said they were happy with their canola germination this year.

“We got a good germination,” he said.

“I think this season is a lot better than last year, last year we had the staggered germination and it was all over the place.”

Receiving 10mm in early May, Tim and Chris were worried about the soil profile being partially wet which made them wary to start.

“When it dried out enough we went seeding,” Tim said.

In the past few weeks the farm received 19mm and it has received 140mm for the year.

With a 380mm annual rainfall, Tim said there had been a pattern for the past four years of a dry June.

“There is no sub moisture here,” he said.

“We are surviving on the rains as they come through.”

With the farm relying on dams for the sheep, Tim said they need a good run off up until summer to put water in the dams.

“Often it’s not what happens now, it’s what happens in September and October,” he said.

Tim said he was surprised they hadn’t had any frosty mornings this year which could stunt the crops’ growth.

“I am thinking it will be an average to above-average year just because of the way the crops look – providing the rain keeps coming,’’ he said.

“The crops have a good establishment so we will see where it goes from here.”

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