SHEEP focused is a fitting description of the Rylington Park farming operation managed by Marc and Erlanda Deas at Boyup Brook.
Rylington Park, now owned by the shire of Boyup Brook, has been managed by the Deas family since 2010 and their love of the farming lifestyle keeping them there 10 years later.
The Deas were originally employed by the Rylington Park Management Committee Inc who leased the property from the shire.
At the end of the lease term in March the Boyup Brook Shire took over the management of Rylington Park and have continued to employ Marc and Erlanda as managers.
The property consists of 650 hectares and runs a self-replacing flock of 2500 Merino ewes.
Of the land 30 per cent is cropped, including barley, oats and lupins, with most of the grain being used for sheep feed.
"We like to feed the sheep barley because it's a nice high energy feed," Marc said.
"We sell off any of the excess grain," Erlanda said.
What makes Rylington Park a unique farm is that in addition to running their sheep enterprise for commercial purposes, the property is also used as a training facility.
Each year Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) funds eight shearing and wool handling schools, with a total of 100 students attending.
Schools are run over the course of a week, with accommodation and food included.
"People arrive on Monday and stay until Friday,'' Marc said.
"They just have to bring their own bedding.
"They get some really good training, learning everything about shearing, wool handling and pressing," Erlanda said.
The farm is also a venue for workshops and trials and also hosts an annual spring field day.
A major trial that lies ahead is to cease the mulesing of their sheep this year, as a case study for the community.
One event which has continued to grow in popularity is the annual ladies day "Storm in a Teacup''with 230 attendees at the events' ninth year.
Rylington mates 500 of their Merino ewes in December-January to White Suffolk rams with lambing occurring over a five week period in June-July.
The remainder of the ewes are mated to Merino rams for lambing to be finished at the end of July.
"The reason we lamb when we do is so that we can get away in the spring-time before the flies," Marc said.
"Just after we've marked everything, we mark and crutch on the same day, we can go on leave and don't have to worry about flies," Erlanda said.
When it comes to sourcing their Merino rams, Rylington Park uses the Goerling family's Lukin Springs stud and have been buying from the stud for nearly 10 years.
"Because of the schools and a large proportion of the students being raw learners, we need an easy shearing sheep," Marc said.
"Lukin Springs have good rams that have a soft skin type with a nice loose staple and easy flowing wool."
"Nearly four years ago now the Goerlings changed their ram sales from being in the saleyards to being on-property, which makes for showcasing more rams and a bigger variety to choose from on the day," Erlanda said.
Along with most other producers, Rylington found the past season to be a particularly challenging one.
"We run high numbers of stock which makes it hard when rainfall is limited," Marc said.
"We had rain, but we never had rain flowing into the dams so stock water was extremely low," Erlanda said.
"On the positive side it did give us a chance to clean out our dams."
Despite a lack of rainfall in 2019, the coming season so far is proving to be a promising one for Rylington Park, with early rains bringing green pastures.
With shearing school programs on the farm it makes sense that Rylington Park concentrates on the wool side of the sheep.
On an annual basis Rylington cuts about 114 bales of wool.
Having the shearing school means they shear eight times a year and sell wool four times.
"We are lucky in that sense, it spreads our risk a bit," Erlanda said.
Rylington Park breeds enough replacement ewes to give them a larger selection to choose their replacement ewes from.
"It gives us a lot of animals to choose from, which is nice," Marc said.
"Paul Goerling, from Lukin Springs, comes and does our classing for us."
To ensure maximum productivity Rylington Park pregnancy scans all their ewes.
"Once a ewe is dry it's gone, because we have this extra room to move," Marc said.
"We also cull for old ewes and sell our wethers."
Generally they sell their wethers to live exporters.
Rylington Park is flexible with the markets they sell to and it generally depends on the season.
"Our wethers go to live exporters and our crossbred lambs go to processors when finished unless the season dictates they be sold as store lambs," Erlanda said.
The high sheep prices have helped to cushion Rylington Park during some tougher seasons.
"The prices have propped up everything, but it's so volatile who knows what's going to happen," Marc said.