No mucking around with wool

With the minimal returns for wool Roger Barton has put in some post-Christmas thinking time into dealing with the stuff.

Christmas has come and gone. In between flash flooding, courtesy of a thunderstorm, dealing with wet sheep at all levels and growing a mountain of grass it’s been an interesting period, albeit rather unproductive from a work viewpoint. Cleaning up flood damage and reinstating water systems is akin to being a fire fighter. It’s just got to be done.

I’ve decided that the worst thing about aging is that there is just as much work to do this last December as the one before, but it just takes longer to deal with the same volume of work. Cunning only goes so far and then you just need grunt. Oh for a set of fresh legs!

I’ve spent a bit of time in the woolshed lately shearing ewes. Quality thinking time about value and effort. My current philosophy is a bit like one pot cooking as a young shepherd. Shear a sheep, give the fleece sufficient kick to get any second cuts out of it and shear another one. Minimal skirting if any. You just can’t afford to muck around with the stuff, especially after a horrendously wet spring and summer to date. Colour is well off the pace so the aim is to just minimise lines and reduce/eliminate the cash cost of shearing.

There was no debate that the cost of shearing needed to go up to fairly compensate the workers and retain staff. We all stood around in happy circles and said we would lift our professionalism and commitment to the shearing industry. Meanwhile, the value of wool has plummeted and to date there has been no inkling that the level of professionalism has changed one iota. Others may have a different point of view.

With regards to wool prices I was galled to hear an industry commentator explaining that at a recent sale there had been a “price correction”. What he meant was a price decrease. Sorry mate but that is not a “price correction”, it’s a travesty.

With regards to wool prices I was galled to hear an industry commentator explaining that at a recent sale there had been a “price correction”. What he meant was a price decrease. Sorry mate but that is not a “price correction”, it’s a travesty.

Some years earlier a wily older farmer who always listened to the National programme caught a similar comment that the wool price had gone down at the recent sale, but the sale did have a good “tone” to it. What on earth does that mean? Recently Cavalier Corporation announced it had seen a better year than it was expecting, all on the back of reduced cost of raw wool. Grrr.

I know most of this column is meant to focus on inside the farmgate stuff but this whole cannabis debate is doing my head in. In one breath we are being exalted to become a “Smokefree” nation and in the next breath we want to liberalise the use and access to cannabis. You’ve got to wonder why it’s often referred to as dope? There may be a reason. Do the proponents of liberalisation expect me to lower my workplace standards to accommodate drug-affected people coming under my control to operate machinery and the array of other jobs which sadly on farms make us a less than safe workplace to start with?

On a far more positive note we are in the throes of preparing for our youngest daughter’s wedding.

Weather permitting an outside ceremony followed by the reception under the covered yards. Her fiancé Josh wouldn’t hear of the use of a marquee when we had the perfect option sitting there. This man gets a big tick. Prudent with his money and mine! What more could a father-in-law ask for.