FOURTEEN years ago, when Darren Schurmann of Kingaroy Partnership considered the family sheep farm he had inherited and decided he was going to implement some key changes, he might not have suspected how successful he would be.
As recent winner of the Weekly Times Sheep Farmer of the Year, the national award was evidence his ideas, methodology and hard work was paying off – yet he’s still convinced there were innovations and improvements to the 700-hectare Strathkellar operation that can be made.
“It was a massive surprise actually, and it's very humbling, but it's good recognition for what we've done over quite a long period,” Mr Schurmann told The Spectator.
“I'm happy to try different things and new things and it's quite a reward for it.
“It was originally my grandparent’s farm and my father's farm so we’re the third generation, about 100 years.
“I've been here on the farm full time for 27 years.
“About 14 years ago we changed to self-replacing, which has been fantastic and then we sort of started to adopt a lot more - we put our stock in containment areas of pretesting, which we still do.”
The containment phase with his almost-5000 ewes means he was able to cover a dual purpose – manage the weight of the sheep as well as keep the lambing pastures ready.
“By putting our sheep into containment, we bulk up feed and we're able to run very high stocking rates – we’re lambing down 10 ewes (11 or 12 for singles) per hectare,” he said.
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