Timely rainfall, green grass and high wool prices have graziers John and Janene Wearing enjoying their best year in a decade at Elabe Station, south of Hughenden.
Since moving home from Townsville in 2011, the pair have dealt with drought, destocking and restocking sheep and cattle, and wild dogs, but a season has finally gone in their favour.
Mr Wearing said a 127mm rainfall event on Christmas Eve funnelled a huge amount of water via several creeks to their 8094ha property, and while there wasn't much follow up rain, it was enough to get feed on the ground for the Merino sheep.
"Once we got to shearing time, the sheep were in good order apart from the burr in the wool. That was a bit of an issue, but it was a very strong staple and the classer was very happy with it," Mr Wearing said.
Shearing at Elabe usually starts at the end of August or start of September, but with contractors unusually busy at the time, clipping was a couple of weeks late.
This year's workforce consisted of five shearers, two shed hands, a classer, two roustabouts, a presser and a cook.
The team took three days, working about eight hours, to shear 3200 sheep to produce 70 bales.
Mr Wearing said the weight and micron of the wool was very good and they managed to capitalise on high prices.
"We never sold our wool last year because of the price and we sold a heap of cattle, so we were able to just sit on that and not spend anything else," he said.
"Then we sold last year's clip (52 bales) with this year's, which was a good move because it went up considerably."
Mr Wearing said the average price was about $1620 a bale, up from about $1200 in 2020.
After shearing was completed, the bales were transported to Brisbane for the Australian Wool Network.
The Wearings started with 5000 Merinos in 2012, but after selling some and losing many in the drought, their numbers are back to 3200.
Also losing an estimated 100 head a year to wild dogs, they decided to self-fund and self-install a heavy duty steel predator fence around the outside of the property from November 2019 to August 2020.
"We haven't seen a dog here since we put the fence in," Mr Wearing said.
"The animals graze differently now compared to when we had dogs. They spread out more."
Mr Wearing said grass was cropping up already and he was looking forward to lamb marking, aiming to get his percentage up from 60pc to 80pc.
"It's the first time I've seen green grass in November since I've been home, so we're aiming for a green Christmas."
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