Behind the Farm Gate: Wool
Wool does much more than keep us warm on those chilly winter days and Victoria is home to some of Australia’s best quality products that can be found in all corners of the globe.
Meet Steve Harrison, owner of Bindawarra Merino Stud in East Gippsland.
Q: Why did you become a farmer?
I suppose the beauty of being a farmer was the diverse range of activities that can happen in a day, week, or year. Both sides of my family have all been farmers and having grown up around them, it was an easy choice.
Q: Did you grow up dreaming of having your own farm?
Every farm kid does, however, the cost involved in an accumulating capital is very difficult.
I’ve worked in shearing sheds as a wool classer and that’s enabled me to come home after work and continue to do things after hours.
Q: Is it a family affair?
Yes, my parents guided me to purchase 70 hectares when I was 17 years old, which was next door to their farm, but that was 10 years before I got married.
Lisa and I then purchased a house with another block next door. Since then, we have taken a number of risks to expand the farm to 1500 hectares.
Q: If you weren’t a farmer, what would you be?
Short answer, an engineer. However, the prospect of going to university at a time when the wool sector was on its knees made this option unattainable.
Q: What makes your product so special?
Being a wool grower first and foremost, my product is clean, natural and practical for everyday use.
We see the lifecycle of a lamb being born, to it producing its own lambs, eating green grass and being happy in its environment. ‘
Q: What’s your farm doing to combat climate change?
As a farmer, we have been doing that for 30 years and will continue to do so. Numerous tree breaks, silos for storing feed, hay sheds for storing hay and containment areas to prevent the topsoil from blowing away, all help.
Q: How are you using technology?
We have electronic ear tags in our sheep which enables us to monitor their production. We have security cameras being installed, my contractors use GPS for spraying, pasture renovation and for fodder conservation to name a few things.
Q: What is your favourite knit / jumper made from your wool?
Not made out of our own wool unfortunately!
However, our family is very focussed on wearing wool, from underpants and socks to jumpers and shirts and much more.
How do we get our hands on your products?
We do own the Bindawarra Merino Stud that is recognised throughout the merino industry.
We sell very close to 100 rams each year to new and repeat clients and our main ram sale is in September, with private sales after that.