Broken Hill Organic Sheep Farming | Farmer Stories


Gary Hannigan from Churinga Station and my
wife Tracy. And this is a.. um.. grazing property 70kms
west of Wilcannia. 120,000 acres or about 50,000 hectares set up mainly for um.. sheep
grazing operations. African breeds of sheep are browsers more
so than um.. grazers like a traditional merino breed. So they actually eat a wider variety of um…
vegetation which is one of the reasons why they do so well in this country and it also
gives them a higher level of um.. vitamins and mineral intake. The dorpers are a um… are a wool and haired
breed. They have like a layer of wool along their back and down their sides. The um.. the Damara is a fat tailed breed
where it stores its fat as energy in it’s tail and then in um.. in dry times it sort
of uses the fat back into it’s body as um… as energy. Our um.. production here is totally 100% native
vegetation and no use of any chemicals or fertilisers and no um.. no sort of artificial
disturbances to the soil. We feel that we can produce a world class
organic product in harmony with the environment. We um.. we work with nature rather than against
it. I think it’s probably a lot simpler than
people think to be sustainable and ah profitable in this region out here. Probably the key
is matching stocking rate to carrying capacity and that is probably um… one of those crucial
things. We’re generally running 1 sheep to 20 acres.
It’s a viable operation and it’s also um.. very environmentally friendly. The land’s actually ideally suited for ah..
grazing, simply because the grazing process actually helps with the soil profile, eating
the vegetation down and letting it regrow again and also putting carbon back into the
soil. So actually livestock are a crucial part of um… maintaining this land in the
state it’s in. The soil here is actually exceptionally fertile
but it’s normally the lack of rain is why um.. you don’t see a lot of vegetation on
it. As you can see you only need to add water and um.. you can grow anything in this country. The old timers say it’s that good out here
you can fatten a fence post! This is extremely inspiring here at the moment
to see the country looking like this. It’s just beautiful! I saw it this good probably in ’74 when
I was only a young fella and um… it’s nice to see it again and hopefully I see it
a few more times um… in my days I guess.

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