Coolah - New South Wales, Australia
24.000 sheep on 20.000 acres
He came riding in, on the back of a horse in 1928. His was 18 years old and his name was Charles – the grandfather of farmer Edward Martin. On a charming hill, surrounded by nothing but calmly green eucalyptus trees and a creek, Charles built his little hut from scratch. Eventually his home turned into an enormous merino farm and gave light to the future of his childrens children. Today, Edward and his wife Victoria, together with their three small children produce some of the finest quality wool in the world. They do that by strong devotion to and passion for their heritage. Yet they are not shy of trying out new solutions. Edward has an endless 20.000 acres available for the sheep to jump around freely, but he still knows where they are at all times, via modern geo-tracking. From an iPad he is able to detect the mobs locations live, as well as their nomadic routes dating months back. Still, to make sure all the sheep are doing excellent, Edward will check on them himself as well, every day.
Taking great care of the land is top-priority for the Martin-family. “Without sustainability there will be no future in farming”, Edward says. The Martins avoid over-working the land, by constantly rotating the heard of sheep. This also takes care of possible harmful soil erosion. In harsh, dry months, when the grass might be sleepy, the family make sure their 24.000 merinos have enough protein by additionally feeding them faba beans and hay. The water systems are also improved all the time, and maintained to ensure the sheep are never far from clean and pure mountain water.
From start to end, the Martins have promised to provide Devold with a well-treated animal, as well as some of the softest, whitest wool on the planet. Their merinos first-class genetics now makes sure to produce as little as 17.5 microns type of wool (lower number equals finer wool). “Our style of wool has improved along with elasticity, whiteness, length and lustre”, Edward says, and guarantees at the same time that the wool has grown on non-mulesed merinos. He has noticed a world-wide increase in costumer demand for sheep that have not been mulesed (a procedure where skin is surgically removed from the tail-end in order to avoid the meat-eating blowfly) and Edward believes Devold is “leading the race”. As many ethical farmers looking to avoid mulesing, Edward has also adapted to the SRS-type of sheep. In fact, his father Michael was one of the farmers who invented the smart system of picking out rams with less folds and wrinkles on their bodies, and with that Turee Vale has been mulesing-free ever since 2004.