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ALMG Letter to the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef
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ALM CS Wool producer managing land

09-Sep-2010

A Coleraine wool enterprise is taking the initiative on marketing and land management, writes Kate Dowler in the Weekly Times. The Dufty family is taking part in the ALM CS, giving them a tool for improving the farm's environmental credentials and production.

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A COLERAINE wool enterprise is taking the initiative on marketing and land management, writes KATE DOWLER

Andrew Dufty is not a wool grower who sits back and waits for opportunities to knock.

He knows that such knocks rarely arrive unsolicited.

Instead, Andrew works to find that bit extra that could put him ahead.

Helping him sort the wheat from the chaff is an agribusiness history that includes managerial positions with Elders Wool and former forestry company Great Southern.

He is also part-owner of Charles Stewart Real Estate in southwest Victoria.

Ten years ago, Andrew, his wife, Kim, and parents, Stuart and Margaret, moved from Branxholme, south of Hamilton, to the property Melville Forest, in the district of the same name northeast of Coleraine.

The family had been farming at Branxholme since the 1950s, and before that, in the Wimmera for 80 years.

They bought the 1450ha Melville Forest to expand their sheep flock and hopefully double their wool production to 300 bales a year.

"Opportunities to expand in Branxholme were difficult given the blue-gum industry, so we sold to Timbercorp to fund an expansion to a larger property," Andrew said. "We felt we had to get scale in our operation.

"We saw the goal of being in the top 1 per cent (on wool volume) as increasing our marketing options."

For the past three seasons, the Duftys have sold up to half their wool clip through The Merino Company's pools. This year, they will sell 30 per cent of their clip through the pools.

"I was impressed by their philosophy and approach to marketing wool," Andrew said.

"The direct approach takes away reliance on the spot market of the auction system and you're able to participate in a value-chain that potentially sees your wool more closely identified further down the chain."

He said TMC's EU-eco certified and carbon-neutral wool tags were the way forward.

"They (the tags) won't make much difference to bulk purchasers supplying raw material to Chinese mills, but they will for high-value markets in Europe and America," Andrew said.

The Dufty family also takes part in the Australian Land Management Certification System, which gives them a tool for improving the farm's environmental credentials and production.

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