Lukin Springs is set to celebrate 50 years

Lukin Springs is set to celebrate 50 years

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Lukin Springs, Boyup Brook, stud principal Paul Goerling with some ewe hoggets in the yards to be classed.

Lukin Springs, Boyup Brook, stud principal Paul Goerling with some ewe hoggets in the yards to be classed.

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Boyup Brook sheep farmers David and Jane Goerling will celebrate 50 years on the farm, Lukin Springs, in October 2020.

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BOYUP Brook sheep farmers David and Jane Goerling will celebrate 50 years on the farm, Lukin Springs, in October 2020.

While they haven't decided exactly how to mark the important milestone, they said the celebration would coincide with their annual on-property Lukin Springs ram sale, which occurs around the same time each year.

They moved from Pinjarra after the family farm was sold in 1969 and purchased Lukin Springs in 1970.

Mr Goerling said over the years they had done business their own way but had managed to navigate the changing industry and remain on top of their game.

When they purchased the 650 hectare property they were in their early 20s.

They have never used a budget and only spend what they have when they need something.

Since arriving on the farm they have expanded with the purchase of neighbouring blocks as they came up for sale, from 650ha to 1500ha.

Mr Goerling said they took the opportunity to grow the farm as the opportunity arose.

"You only get one chance to buy your neighbour's land so we did it while we could and it has given us more land to grow our flock and increase our productivity," Mr Goerling said.

He said in the past 49 years they had experienced a lot of changes in the industry and gone through some difficult times.

"I'm not sure how we are still here," he said.

"We have had some hard times over the years but we have also been rewarded along the way through good decisions and now especially with good prices for sheep meat and wool."

Mr Goerling said in 1971/72 they received 87 cents a kilograms as a top price for their wool.

"This was a time when a lot of people didn't even bother sending their sheep to the market because it cost more to transport them than they got for them," he said.

"Last week we sold wool for 1440c/kg."

The Goerlings live on the farm with their son Paul and his wife Jennie and their three children.

Together they run a total of 5100 ewes including a Poll Merino and White Suffolk stud.

They said clients were enjoying success with the stud's genetics.

Paul said they were looking to increase the number of sheep this year because of the demand and good prices.

"Our sheep are doing well and our lambs are looking good," Paul said.

Paul Goerling weighing and classing ewe hoggets with the help of modern sheep handling equipment on farm.

Paul Goerling weighing and classing ewe hoggets with the help of modern sheep handling equipment on farm.

He said this year their lambing percentage was 105-110 per cent, with an impressive 170pc for their White Suffolk, stud sheep.

The Boyup Brook area has a 600 millimetre average rainfall but Paul said they would have received about half that this year - though they don't keep a measurement because they don't worry about things they can't control.

They are fortunate to have a natural spring and a creek running through the farm for livestock water supply - which runs at 95,000 litres a day.

This year the season began in March with rain delivering germination of pasture but it all died off due to a lack of follow-up rains.

"We didn't get a germination until June," Paul said.

"That lead to a shortage of feed in May-July.

"But we have been surprised at how well the sheep have recovered," he said.

Paul said the feed was there in the paddocks at the moment but "not as much" as they would like.

"We have the quality but not the quantity," he said.

"The paddocks are expected to get bare over summer because there is not a lot of bulk.

"We don't want anymore rain until May."

To help the sheep continue to thrive during the summer and get them to weight for supply to either the WA Meat Marketing Co-operative at Katanning, or V&V Walsh at Bunbury, they use feed pellets from Kojonup Feeds.

"When our lambs are five month old or about 49kg we send them off for processing," Paul said.

"The pellets are a complete balanced diet and really help the Merino lambs.

"Kojonup Feeds' pellets are the only ones we use and they have never let us down.

"We would highly recommend them."

While they mainly run sheep they do crop a small 100ha of oats and barley for feed.

However, it was dependent whether or not they sold them and replaced them with pellets.

The Goerlings also have a fertiliser program which starts each May - hopefully after it rains.

They apply lime, super phosphate and potash which they say helps with pasture growth and the continued improvement of the sheep.

"It really helps with the health of the sheep and lambing percentage," Paul said.

"Especially in a tough start to the season like this year."

They conduct soil testing to know what areas to apply the fertilisers and also the rates required.

Because it's a family operation and there's more work than what they can do themselves, they contract out hay making, harvesting, seeding, fertiliser spreading, shearing and cartage.

All contractors are local businesses.

This allows them the time to get done the ongoing upgrading of the fences and taking care of the sheep husbandry and entering all the required data for Sheep Genetics.

Paul said these were interesting times for the sheep industry with a lot of talk of social license and new technologies to improve on farm practices.

"It is important to change with the times," Paul said.

"We live in interesting times for the industry, in regards to social license and animal welfare and we really need to adapt to the expectations of society and change how we do things.

"We've adopted sheep handling technology which has made handling sheep much easier and safer for us and the animals.

"We are also heading to non-mulesed sheep with our breeding program."

The Goerlings class their own sheep, do DNA testing, use ASBVs - MerinoSelect and use EID tags on the White Suffolk stud.

They also pregnancy scan for multiple lambs.

They have also built a permanent large scale ram selling shed to improve the presentation of their rams during the on-property sale.

Paul said his father liked to keep the farm in ship shape condition and spent a lot of time cleaning up.

All the hard work shows - from the moment of entering the driveway there is a sense that this property is loved and cared for.

Mr Goerling maybe getting older but he said he enjoys the work that he does helping Paul, who runs the farm.

"It's been a good life on the farm," Mr Goerling said.

"You've got to love what you do when you run sheep."

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