WA grain growing family scoop national award
Western Australia’s Smith family have been named Grain Growers of the Year at the Kondinin Group-ABC Rural Australian Farmer of the Year Awards in Melbourne on Wednesday, September 10.
Hailing from Dumbleyung, the Smiths have been running Kingussie Farming since 1945 with the fourth generation of the family now taking up major management roles in the farm business, and setting up the farm for the next generation.
Kondinin Group general manager Stephanie Shepherdson said the Smiths had emerged victorious from an elite group of contestants, and were worthy winners of the award which was sponsored by the Grains Research and Development Corporation.
“We all take for granted being able to go to the shop and pick up a loaf of bread or a tray of lamb chops for dinner,” Ms Shepherdson said.
“It is such innovative and often thankless efforts as that from the Smith Family, to allow you and your family these rights. With forward thinking methodology and practices, this family has remained strong in business and productivity. Well done.”
The farm has grown from 2000 arable hectares in 2002 to be now cropping and running sheep on an area of 7970 hectares, producing in excess of 17,500 tonnes of grain in 2013.
There is no fixed rotation, with the most appropriate crops grown according to soil type, weed burden and location. The Smiths grow canola, wheat, barley, oats, lupins and peas with clover sown as a break crop when required.
In addition, the Smiths run Merino Studs, growing medium wool, large framed sheep that are particularly well suited to the Wheatbelt and Great Southern.
The features of the business include exceptional water use efficiency for their rainfall zone and astute grain marketing, allowing them to capitalise on their good production with prices closer to the yearly average price. Despite fighting off the threats of low rainfall and frost, the Smiths still manage to not only achieve spectacular results from their grain growing enterprise, but they do so extremely profitably.
The low chemical cost, fertiliser well matched to production, and the capacity to purchase new or used machinery to add efficiency to the business is quite spectacular.
The modest Smith family - Kenneth, Shayne, Troy, Lee, Carly, and Michelle - have taken some educated risks in the rapid expansion of the business, and this is well-earned recognition for their growing reputation as successful grain growers.
“Sometimes in farming you don’t always recognise your own achievements,” Shayne said.
The family is active in the local community, with Carly currently a Dumbleyung Shire councillor, while the family are also members of the Facey Group.
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