FarmWorks Narrogin partners with Westcoast
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FarmWorks Narrogin partners with Westcoast

FARMWORKS Narrogin has joined the list of independent rural retailers teaming up with the WA-owned Westcoast Wool & Livestock business to provide wool and livestock services throughout its local areas.

Owned by Ashley Wilkins and Charlie Farleigh, the store has continued to grow and is enjoying another promising season in the Narrogin and wider region. It supports growers out to Wandering, Boddington and the Williams area towards Collie, down to Highbury and towards Wagin, across to Wickepin and up to the Cuballing, Popanyinning and Pingelly areas.

The business, also with the support of Bernard Maley (merchandise sales), Karen Fazey (sales/administration) and Brett Coxon (Summit Fertilizers), and using consultant agronomists Trent Butcher, Garren Knell and Jordy Medlen from ConsultAg, offers a full range of farm inputs and supplies, now sourced via another local independent, David Grays Aglink.

Ashley, who earlier worked on his uncle and aunty’s farm west of Wickepin for five years, as well as for other agribusinesses at Narembeen and Narrogin for 11 years, said after buying into FarmWorks Narrogin four years ago, they had been keen to expand the business with wool and livestock services.

“It’s another service we can offer and we partner up with the Westcoast Wool & Livestock team very well,’’ said Ashley, who is well settled in Narrogin with his wife, Kellie, who works for an agribusiness bank, and their two daughters, Piper and Riley.

“It’s great that Westcoast Wool & Livestock are WA-owned and operated. They have exceptionally good livestock and wool agents and I have worked with a lot of the team at Westcoast in the past.

Ashley Wilkins (second from right), FarmWorks Narrogin, welcomes Westcoast Wool & Livestock team members to the Narrogin store, including Justin Haydock, Brad Faithfull, Adrian Dabinett and Stephen Keatley.

“It has been really exciting to see some of the people who have been joining the company. Westcoast is investing in great people and they are really supporting the younger team members who are going to become the next generation for our industry.’’

Supporting FarmWorks Narrogin in extending its wool and livestock services to growers will be Justin Haydock, Stephen Keatley and Adrian Dabinett from Westcoast Wool & Livestock.

In addition to already working with Justin previously, Adrian was Ashley’s football coach for the Narrogin Hawks, while his wife, Kellie, is also friends with Stephen’s wife, Dannielle, so the team have taken little time to hit the ground running.

Ashley said sheep numbers were up in the region following a warm season with high lamb marking and weaning numbers.

He said early feedback on the partnership with Westcoast Wool & Livestock, and particularly some of the strong benefits it offered growers, had been excellent.

Westcoast expands southern team
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Westcoast expands southern team

EXPERIENCED wool and livestock representative Sean Gillespie has joined the expanding team at Westcoast Wool & Livestock.

Formerly with Primaries of WA, Sean is supporting producers through southern growing areas, as well as the company’s new selling fixtures at the Mount Barker Regional Saleyards.

Originally from Wagin, Sean has also been strongly involved with the industry running his own livestock enterprises with his wife, Emily, and their children, Kona, Emma and Caris.

He has been operating a Poll Dorset stud on his property near Wagin for 19 years and also has been farming another property near Narrikup in recent years that is running about 40 predominantly Angus breeders.

The son of late Wagin Ford car dealer principal, Graham Gillespie, Sean has always maintained a strong network and relationships through the Great Southern and wider areas, and particularly following 20 years of classing, shearing and contracting in the local wool industry.

Sean recalled his earlier days driving around paddocks at Narrikup and is looking forward to further developing his beef cattle operation.

“I’ve always enjoyed working with animals and the meat market,’’ Sean said.

New Westcoast Wool & Livestock representative Sean Gillespie, pictured at the Mount Barker Regional Saleyards, where the company now has a selling position.

 

With a growing world population needing to be fed and the ability for Australia’s farmers to produce a clean and green product, Sean said it painted a positive outlook for livestock commodities and producers.

He said he was also pleased to be joining a local, privately-owned, growing company that had a great rapport with its clients as a result of the excellent service it provided to all producers.

Sean can be contacted on 0439 112 881.

Wool price premiums now a reality for Three Springs growers
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Wool price premiums now a reality for Three Springs growers

AFTER years of hearing they couldn’t get price premiums for their specialised wool, Three Springs growers Anthony and Geraldine Thomas now recognise they can after a portion of their clip recently achieved up to 200 cents per kilogram clean more than similar type wools at auction.

The wool from young hoggets and rams on their ‘Hill Padua’ property was sourced for the Organica Precious Fibre brand developed by Chargeurs Luxury Materials, as part of an arrangement the company has with the export division of locally-owned agribusiness, Westcoast Wool & Livestock.

The 26-bale offering over four lots in the Westcoast Wool & Livestock catalogue ranged from 17.3-18.1 microns with up to 1.7 per cent vegetable matter, length of 73 millimetres and strength of 43 newtons per kilotex for hauteur of up to 73.

The four lots achieved prices ranging from 150-200c/kg clean higher than other similar wools offered at the auction.

Three Springs woolgrowers Anthony and Geraldine Thomas (centre), flanked by Brad Groves (left) and Danny Ryan, both of Westcoast Wool & Livestock, during a visit to the Ram Shed at the Dowerin field days recently.

After fielding strong interest from European processors for niche market wool types, Westcoast Wool & Livestock partnered with Chargeurs from late last year to source wool for its premium eco-friendly Merino brand. The select wools can be sold on forward contract, via direct trade or through the traditional auction system.

“It is an exciting prospect for an increasing number of growers and extends on our strong core focus to maximise market opportunities and returns for all WA woolgrowers,’’ said Westcoast Wool & Livestock Export manager William Davidson.

The company’s Justin Haydock said in addition to securing all of the wool offered by the Thomas family recently, Chargeurs also had already purchased several other wool lines as well as whole clips through Westcoast Wool & Livestock for its Organica Precious Fibre brand.

“The Thomas’ shear every six months and the competition on their wool was very strong. Organica is a fantastic product for those who meet this niche market,’’ Justin said.

He said the wool secured for the global brand generally achieved market premiums of 5-7pc.

Compared with other leading global wool labels, Organica has the most complete and ambitious protocol for traceable and eco-friendly wool. This includes blockchain traceability, allowing customers full transparency to track the product’s journey from the farm right through the supply chain, which is now increasingly demanded by today’s consumers.

Anthony said the recent sale was the first time the family had sold wool via Westcoast Wool & Livestock, prompted by the company’s arrangement with Chargeurs for the Organica Precious Fibre brand.

 

“For us, it has now become another option. They have all been saying we can’t get a premium, but we now can,’’ Anthony said.

“This crowd has made a difference and we were very happy.’’

He said their sheep and wool enterprise had to achieve accreditation to ensure their select wool met the requirements of Organica Precious Fibre.

“We were visited by an auditor from Uruguay and Chargeurs representatives from Italy. They looked at everything and we passed the audit.’’

“No mulesing was the main requirement and we haven’t mulesed for about 15 years.

“We breed a sheep with a flat backside and no wrinkles.

“We also use minimal chemical with our sheep.’’

Anthony and Geraldine run about 2900 mated ewes and, together with their nephew, Adam Thomas, crop 3600 hectares to wheat, barley, canola and lupins on their 8000ha ‘Hill Padua’ property. They also run the Hill Padua Poll Merino stud, turning off about 160 rams annually.

Anthony said extending the use of Australian Sheep Breeding Values (ASBVs) across their entire stud and commercial sheep operation had fast-tracked the improvement of their flock. For all traits, the flock is significantly above the Australian averages.

Electronic tags are used to provide complete performance data and heritage on all sheep throughout their lifetime on the property.

“We have been concentrating on meat, very bright, white stylish wool, shape – a big backside with legs wide apart – and good fertility.’’

“When I left school, Dad was cutting 12-pound (about 5 kilograms) a head of 23-micron wool with a lambing percentage of 60. We are still cutting between 5-6kg, but the wool micron average is 19 and we have a lambing percentage of 120.’’

The family produces around 160 bales of wool from their two shearings in April and October, which has been undertaken the past four to five years.

“Depending upon the season and lambings, our worst wool length was 55mm and the best was 78mm since we have had the two shearings. Also, our newtons (per kilotex) have gone up into the 60s,’’ Anthony said.

“We will maintain the two shearings for the health of the sheep. The ewes do so much better. We are still getting 140mm of wool (annually) and sheep health is better – and that’s the name of the game.’’

The family is now preparing for its annual ram sale at ‘Hill Padua’ to be held on Monday, September 23.

For further information about the Organica Precious Fibre program in WA, growers can contact Westcoast Wool & Livestock on (08) 9418 8448.

Dockers champ joins Westcoast
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Dockers champ joins Westcoast

FREMANTLE Dockers champion Hayden Ballantyne has joined Westcoast – not the arch-rival across town, but the rapidly growing, locally-owned Westcoast Wool & Livestock team in WA.

Just days after playing his final game with the Dockers, Hayden has taken little time to list with another team and is looking forward to developing his passion for livestock production and career in the agricultural industry. He will be supporting producers throughout the South West as a livestock representative with the company.

Hayden played 171 games for Fremantle and won an All-Australian guernsey in 2014, goal of the year in 2011 and was a member of the 2015 Australian International Rules team.

He is still considering his playing options in 2020 and if not offered an attractive contract from another AFL club, could be strapping on the boots for Peel Thunder or a team in the South West Football League.

The forward pocket specialist has been renowned for constantly buzzing around the forward line and it has been a similar story off the field.

“Why rest? If I sit around for two days I would go crazy,’’ said Hayden, upon joining the Westcoast Wool & Livestock team.

In recent years he has been operating an 800-1000 head beef cattle feedlot near Donnybrook and this year, following in the footsteps of his father, Graham, commenced training thoroughbreds, recently notching his first win with ‘Mankind’ at a Saturday Ascot meeting.

Hayden’s interest in livestock and the agriculture industry has sparked from spending time with his stepfather, local cattle buyer Greg Jones, and attending livestock market sales at Muchea, Boyanup and Mount Barker.

He joined the Westcoast Wool & Livestock southern team at the company’s first sales at Mount Barker Regional Saleyards last Thursday.

“They were the ‘new kids on the block’ at the Mount Barker sale and I’m a ‘new kid on the block’, so it’s a good fit and I’m looking forward to it,’’ Hayden said.

Former Fremantle Dockers favourite son and new recruit with Westcoast Wool & Livestock, Hayden Ballantyne (centre), who will be supporting livestock producers throughout the South West, flanked by the company’s Livestock Manager, Gerald Wetherall (left), and Director and Country Wool Manager, Brad Faithfull.

 

“They are an up and coming group with a good vibe, I like the challenge of continuing to improve and so I am excited to join the company and to keep learning the craft.’’

While Hayden has a stronger understanding of cattle, he is also keen to build his sheep and wool knowledge with the business. 

In his new role, he is looking forward to meeting up with more producers throughout the South West.

“Agriculture is a great industry with great people.’’

“I know a lot of farmers and talking about footy is a great way to make connections, so I’m looking forward to it,’’ he said.

Gerald Wetherall, Livestock Manager with Westcoast Wool & Livestock, said the company was excited to welcome Hayden’s strong profile to the business.

“Hayden is a people person with a strong profile who will be welcomed throughout the industry,’’ Gerald said.

“He brings a new set of eyes and will add to the energy in our business.

“His appointment continues our journey and our strong growth path in the industry.’’

Fresh Westcoast face steps up
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Fresh Westcoast face steps up

LIVESTOCK producers in areas surrounding Gingin, Bindoon, Toodyay and Goomalling will be recognising a fresh new face within the ranks of the Westcoast Wool & Livestock team, with Jeremy Green now supporting the region.

Jeremy earlier completed a traineeship program with the company and is thrilled to be servicing an area he has been familiar with since his childhood days on a Gingin beef cattle property owned by his grandfather, who also operated a piggery.

Jeremy worked at the WA Meat Industry Authority’s Muchea Livestock Centre prior to commencing the Westcoast Wool & Livestock traineeship program.

He honed his knowledge and skills with experienced livestock and wool advisers in areas surrounding Boyup Brook and Dalwallinu, as well as through the Midlands and Avon Valley regions.

The traineeship included a focus on fat scoring, livestock weighing, animal husbandry, drafting lines of stock and understanding different markets for different stock types.

Jeremy also attended an Australian Livestock and Property Agents Association (ALPA) auctioneering school and already has been leading from the rail at some Muchea fixtures. He is also filing the cattle market and top prices report following Westcoast’s Muchea sales.

He said having an understanding and some relationships with producers in the region he was now supporting was a bonus and he was enjoying working with clients and canvassing farmers throughout the area.

“I enjoy the livestock industry and it’s good to work hard and help farmers in their businesses,’’ Jeremy said.

Livestock representative with Westcoast Wool & Livestock, Jeremy Green, is enjoying working hard and helping farmers in their businesses.

 

“Westcoast has a brilliant team and I see a lot of potential for myself with what I can do and a great opportunity for growth within the company. It’s definitely one of the best companies for growth and it’s exciting to be a part of that growth.’’

Westcoast Wool & Livestock State Livestock Manager Gerald Wetherall said Jeremy had a strong future in the industry and he was pleased with the opportunities the company could offer young professionals via its traineeship program.

Gerald said the program was providing for a great blend of youth and experience within the Westcoast team and would support the continued growth of the business into the future.

Premiums for select WA wools with new luxury global brand
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Premiums for select WA wools with new luxury global brand

A SMALL selection of wool from an increasing number of WA growers is set to be used for a new luxury wool brand as part of an arrangement brokered by the export division of growing local agribusiness, Westcoast Wool & Livestock.

After fielding strong interest from European processors for niche market wool types, the company’s export division has since partnered with Chargeurs Luxury Materials to source wool for its eco-friendly brand.

Westcoast Wool & Livestock Export Manager William Davidson said the arrangement with Chargeurs would provide for specialist WA wools to be selected for the company’s Organica Precious Fibre brand at market premiums.

“Following the enquiries through to our export division for these specialist wools, we have teamed with Chargeurs to provide a niche marketing opportunity for select WA growers,” William said.

“This will be a small, but exciting prospect for an increasing number of growers and extends on our strong core focus to maximise market opportunities and returns for all WA woolgrowers.’’

He said Chargeurs representatives had been meeting with the Westcoast Wool & Livestock team and WA growers from earlier this year to identify suitable wools, and the developments had been promising.

The selected wools will be able to be sold on forward contract, via direct trade or through the traditional auction system, ensuring maximum returns for growers.

Launched in 2017 by Chargeurs Luxury Materials, Organica is a premium, eco-friendly Merino wool label with a focus on traceability, sustainability and social responsibility.

Compared with other leading wool labels, Organica has the most complete and ambitious protocol for traceable and eco-friendly wool. This includes blockchain traceability, allowing customers full transparency to track the product’s journey from the farm right through the supply chain, which is now increasingly demanded by today’s consumers.

Chargeurs Luxury Materials Sourcing Manager Nicolas Sapelli said Organica wool would most likely be used as a raw material for fashion and technical yarns for the outdoors market, but the company also envisaged a wider appeal as the brand developed.

“Organica was only launched a year ago and since then we have experienced a continued increase in demand and enquiries. As such, volumes forecasted have had to be revised on many occasions,’’ Nicolas said.

“Suppliers have had to expand their horizons to keep the quality as the main priority, but also to be able to source our growing demand, which is why Organica recently landed in WA with some excitement.”

William Davidson, Export Manager with Westcoast Wool & Livestock, says the arrangement with Chargeurs is an exciting prospect for an increasing number of growers and extends on the company’s strong core focus to maximise market opportunities and returns for all WA woolgrowers.

He said the concept behind the brand was relaying the story behind the wool, introducing the consumer to the grower, their daily challenges and their passion for breeding sheep and producing quality wool.

“This also requires a commitment from the grower. There is a protocol to follow and accreditation, including the wool coming from non-mulesed sheep, is required to be part of the program. As a result, growers will get a premium for their wool, as it is only fair.’’

“The power of Organica relies on them, so it is vital to have each of our Organica certified growers being proud to be part of this project and happy with what they are getting for their wool.”

Following the visits to WA by Chargeurs and the Organica sourcing team, Nicolas said the company, together with Westcoast Wool & Livestock, was excited by the possibilities for Organica in WA.

“We met growers who are a perfect match for the program – growers extremely passionate for their sheep and the wool they grow, making the farming of sheep a way of life, producing at top level and happy to tell their story,’’ he said.

“The wool Westcoast has sourced for us in WA so far has the properties and characteristics we are looking for in the Organica program.”

For further information about the Organica program in WA, growers can contact Westcoast Wool & Livestock on (08) 9418 8448.