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Good news for graziers

Louth grazier Jim Strachan said the outlook across the district is good and would make up for a very tough 2020. PHOTO TWH

Rainfall, and a successful wild dog baiting program, have given graziers across the Bourke Shire an optimistic outlook for the rest of the year.

With prices reaching record levels in some markets, wool growers are hopeful 2021 will be a high point after some tough seasons.

But just as optimism and prices were rising, increasing COVID restrictions have burst the travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand, which could see a shortage of shearers.

Louth grazier Jim Strachan said the outlook across the district was good and would make up for what he described as a very tough 2020 in relation to the shortage of labour, especially shearers.

“It’s been a terrific lambing season,” Jim said. “There’s been decent rainfall which has meant there’s plenty of feed on the ground and that’s meant a good lambing season.

“And the ground and aerial wild dog baiting program has had an impact, which has helped with the success of the lambing season.

“There are still a few ‘white spaces’ but generally the graziers and landholders across the district are active in the baiting program.

“Wild dog controller Jason Boede has also had a huge impact on the number of dogs, trapping from Louth to Wanaaring and Hungerford.

“Farmers are more educated and aware about the wild dog issue, they know what they’re looking for, keeping fence lines cleared so they can spot tracks, and that’s had a positive effect on lambing numbers,” he said.

When COVID hit last year, the Australian wool market was dealt a heavy blow, and Jim believes this has had an impact on returns for wool.

This year, the impact of COVID is still being felt, with a good wool season and hopefully, with enough shearers.

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