On January 28th we had a farm tour of “Yarallah”, a meat sheep production. It was our first farm tour of the trip and we were all pretty excited about it. It took us longer than we expected to get there because we got lost traveling through the deserted dirt roads in Dookie. After finally arriving 30-45 minutes later, we met the owner Tom and his herding dogs Chleo and Kelly. All of our hearts melt every time we see a dog, you can tell we are animal science majors! Our hearts also melted when we saw Tom…lets just say he’s single and all of us college girls had our eyes locked when he was talking. So anyway, he gave us his talk about his lamb that are on trial for research right now using tags on them. The lambs go through a little obstacle before they get into one of the yards and have to be weighed on a scale. The tag is read by the scale and if they are under weight they are put back into the pasture and if they are overweight they go into a pen for slaughter. We walked through some of the pastures and watched him give orders to the herd dog Kelly. All he did was give one little order and sound and she immediately did what he wanted; it was really cool to watch her bring all of the lamb into then yard. It is so amazing to watch the farm operated by only one person and a few herding dogs. At times his mom will help him, but for the most part it is a one (and a half with the dog) show. We learned in class before going to the farm that in Australia the only way to be successful as a business or production is to:
- Own a lot of land
- Little labor
- The product must be (easily) transportable
- There must be a market to export the product
If these four things are now followed then the operation will fail. It is crazy because number 1 and 2 are about opposite in America! He owns about 900 hectares (2,000 acres)!!!!!
Tom then gave us a talk about shearing and wool production which he doesn’t really do at the farm, but he will sell some of his wool when he shears the lamb once a year just for some extra cash.
After about an hour and a half to two hours of learning about the lamb production operation he runs, he cooked us all lamb burgers. It was my first time ever eating one and it was SO good! Lamb is one of my favorite meats, too bad it isn’t popular in America :(.