Located 20km south of Mount Gambier is you will find Mt Schanck Station, a mixed livestock enterprise. Across 3770 hectares, the property runs 806 hectares of Centre Pivot Irrigation, 2200 Angus Breeder Cows and 14,500 Composite Ewes.
The properties daily operations are overseen by Nathan Reid, with wife Beth, Olivia (3yrs) and William (2yrs). Finishing school in 2003 Nathan moved straight into the work force and after a multitude of progressive properties and completing a Bachelor of Business (Agriculture) at Marcus Oldham Agricultural College started with Mount Schanck in 2012.
You probably hear it a lot from farmers, "What's a holiday?". But we aren't joking when we say "Farmers rarely get a holiday". We spoke with Nathan and asked him to highlight what a typical year on the farm looks like for him.
What does a typical year on property look like?
- Starting from Autumn, a sowing and fertilizer program commences, which continues all year round thanks to water access and irrigation.
- Come April / May maize (corn) silage harvest starts with the first round of lambing commencing.
- A second round of lambing arrives in June.
- In August calving begins for 6 weeks, with heifers (young cattle) starting first, and the third round of lambing starts.
- Weaning of lambs takes place post lambing around 80 days, with the final flock finishing in January, just before calves are weaned.
- The first round of rams are let in with the ewes in November.
- Now we are only just leading in to the summer months, and it doesn't stop there. 600 Heifers in October and 800 Cows November are mated just before shearing starts.
- Shearing of the 14 500 ewes and lambs commences in late November and continues through to December. Coinciding with this, trade steer and heifers are sold through to January.
- Throughout this time, silage and hay harvest takes place and of course Christmas, but it's highly never a holiday.
- The second round of rams are let in with the ewes in January with the first flock pregnancy scanned.
- Commencing in the early half of the year through to May prime lambs are sold and the Angus Breeders are pregnancy tests.
- March brings the final flock of rams into the ewes and the second flock of ewes pregnancy scanned.
- And the cycle of maize harvest and the sowing and fertilizer program starts again.
Phew and we are just tired from reading all of that. But we are hear to let you get to know our producers.
What has been your biggest challenge?
Obviously seasonal conditions but I think the biggest one other than that is HR/staff and the changing world we live in
What is your favourite time of the year and why?
August – Heifer / Cows calving and ewes lambing. This is where you can start to see genetics and progress coming through and you know spring is around the corner.
What has been the biggest change in the industry in your lifetime?
Probably work place health and safety. I think 90% of it for the better. Things have changed a lot from my first job out from school.
If you has your time over again, would you be a farmer or in a different career and why?
Yeah I would I think. I couldn’t see myself doing anything else, whether it’s a variation in industry though, that would be a possibility.
If you could give one piece of advice to the next generation / future farmers, what would it be?
Learn/Listen and ask questions. Don’t be afraid to work and pay your dues.
What is something unique about your story?
First generation farmer that left home at 17 and moved to King Island to be a stockman on large cattle property, now 10 years later being able to now manage and live on arguably one of the best properties in Australia.
What is a regular meal in your household?
Burritos or Tacos
Why do you love being a farmer?
I think for me it’s about being able to plan, prepare and see outcomes on a pretty regular basis whether it be agronomy and different variety selections or through to genetic gain and improvement in livestock. Taking something that’s under performing and turning it into something more productive and profitable.