SUMMER sheep work is inevitable for livestock farmers as holidays are cut short to look after sheep.
Bolgart farmer Edward Ludemann said a 10-day break over Christmas was long enough before he started sheep work for 2019.
With 800 wether lambs to be drenched, Mr Ludemann took advantage of the cooler weather last week to start preparing his sheep for pastures.
“I have wormed them twice,” Mr Ludemann said.
“Once before they were weaned and now since being weaned and before they head out onto pastures.”
Compared to last year’s stressful summer, Mr Ludemann is hoping this year’s sheep program will be less stressful for farmers across the State.
“This summer is already proving a lot better than last year,” he said.
“We were going into January last year with not a lot of feed and we had already run the stubbles down.
“This year there has been a lot more feed which should help the sheep last through to winter.”
Mr Ludemann said there had been a few years where they have had to manage troughs and feed supply throughout summer and into winter, making tough conditions for sheep management.
“The past 12 months have been a win for all sections of agriculture in terms of pricing and growing conditions in WA,” he said.
“We had an above-average season last harvest with the wheat an exceptional standout and everything to do with sheep prices has been impeccable despite the live export issues.”
Last Friday Mr Ludemann put his rams in with 2600 ewes to get the lambing process underway.
“It’s just another thing we do in summer, join 2600 ewes to our rams and our total flock goes to about 5100,” he said.
“We have been gradually increasing over the past five years since I returned home full-time because sheep are really important in my eyes.”
Mr Ludemann farms with his father Geoff, who was planning to get out of sheep.
“I think dad didn’t really want to continue with sheep because it’s hard work, but when I came home we continued and I have since grown the amount of sheep we farm,” he said.
A fourth-generation farmer, Mr Ludemann said his family had been on the Bolgart property since 1906.
“My family has been here for 113 years this year and it’s great that I am able to carry on farming like my father, grandfather and great grandfather before me,” he said.
- Record sheep prices a feature of 2018, while cattle prices remained steady
- A year of turmoil for live export industry
Mr Ludemann said he was ready to take on more responsibility, with his dad taking a more laid-back role, especially with sheep.
“There is so much out there now available to farmers in terms of research and development which is something I enjoy attending throughout the year,” he said.
“But I am still pretty new to it all so it’s great to have dad here to help me along.
“We will start planning what to do this year and do it all again.”