Celia Scott, Ardmeen
WHEN you have a national end-buyer with plenty of product to choose from, your prime lamb product must be consistent in quality and quantity, for the Scott property at Poolaijelo, Cloven Hills genetics is the starting point for the quality product it sells to major players in the trade lamb market.
A somewhat ‘non-traditional’ succession story, Celia Scott is the third of four siblings – all girls – and after nine years learning the ropes, is now in the driver’s seat of the family’s 2500 acre prime lamb and Angus beef property.
After working in hospitality, studying agribusiness at Marcus Oldham College and trying her hand in the dairy and beef export industry, Celia returned home to help for a couple of weeks on the farm “and didn’t get around to leaving”.
“I came home about eight years ago now and I worked for Mum and Dad for the first seven years; for the last year and a month I have been leasing the farm from mum and dad,” Celia said.
“We’re working through a succession plan and a way of getting started is by leasing the farm; mum and dad are still on the farm but they’re trying to step away.”
The decision to take on the family farm was not taken lightly, but for Celia, the challenges of running a prime lamb business and its rewards, more than justify her decision.
“I guess one of the things that I find most rewarding is that every bit of effort I put in, I see a result for,” she said.
“Having worked for other businesses, you can put in 120 per cent, at the end of the day you still only get rewarded for 100 per cent.
“Managing a farm business, your rewarded by getting out of it what you put in, depending on how you measure reward – whether it’s financial gain or whether it’s being able to walk out in the morning, see a mob of lambs and thinking ‘Yep, those animals are spot on, we’re proud of producing that ourselves’.”
The Scott breeding pool has gone through several transformations, working through a variety of Composite genetic combinations to produce maternal ewes, in the past eight years.
“We first started with Cloven Hills about six years ago; we were using a couple of different studs genetics, but we were getting too much variety in our maternal ewe composition” Celia said.
“There were too many different breeds coming in, not enough uniformity in the adult ewes and their lambs, we were struggling to produce a consistent product that met our end markets needs.”
Four years ago, the decision was made to use Kate and Chris Dorahy’s Cloven Hills genetics, exclusively, now the 3500 Composite ewe flock has stabilised to the point where 90 per cent of the finished product, fits the trade market.
“We aim for – and generally get – a more uniform adult ewe and lamb now,” Celia said.
“Our marking percentages are still sitting well – last year from joining to marking we managed 134 per cent and we can see we’re getting a more consistent animal by the fact that we’re getting so many more lambs up to trade weight.
“We look forward to building on this and can see there is still room for us to improve.
“And Cloven Hills ewes are great mums, we monitor stock daily during lambing so we are fairly aware what’s going on in the paddock; the ewes are very protective of their lambs and survivability is generally high. With the few assisted births we have, it always amazes me how readily the ewes take to mothering their lambs; even with the first-lambers we find this.”
Celia said the decision to move exclusively to Cloven Hills genetics had taken a lot of guess work and a lot of hard work, out of providing a quality ram for their breeding base.
The Dorahys’ commitment to researching genetic selections and sharing that knowledge is paying dividends for their client in the paddock and the market and will ensure a strong relationship between the Scott property and Cloven Hills, into the future.
“Kate and Chris have done their research to achieve what they’ve achieved and I appreciate that,” Celia said.
“Any query that I’ve had to do with breeding, animal husbandry, or even supplementary feeding, they’re always willing to share their knowledge on the topic because generally they’ve researched or experienced it somewhere along the road.”
And, a common theme among all the Cloven Hills clients, is the satisfaction with ‘after-market’ care.
“We are able to get in contact with them when we need to, which I know some studs find it hard to offer when they have a greater market share with a larger client base; Kate and Chris are familiar with what we are doing and how we are doing it,” Celia said.
“But they also understand the broader picture, the challenge of being where we are with terrible phone reception, having busy lives and trying to fit that with farming.
“For us the Cloven Hills genetics create a sheep that fits with our environment and business, they’re an animal that is easy maintenance most of the time, doesn’t require a lot of coddling and grows a good lamb quickly.”
“They care about future of farming and it flows through to their rams.”
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