Wimmera Young Farmers: Blackheath's Harry Young drives innovation at home

Harry Young is a third generation farmer from Blackheath who runs merino sheep and crops.
Harry Young is a third generation farmer from Blackheath who runs merino sheep and crops.

Wimmera Farmer presents a monthly feature that profiles young people in agriculture and looks at what drove them to a life on the land.

HARRY Young believes working on his family’s farm was an inevitable path for him to follow, given his love for the land.

“I’m a third generation farmer, and grew up on the farm, so it was just a natural path for me to follow,” he said. “I’ve always enjoyed it, and if you don’t enjoy it, there’s no point doing it.”

Mr Young, 26, and his father Richard run about 450 ewes, and grow wheat, barley, canola, lentils, oats and vetch, on 1300 hectares that they own and lease at Blackheath. He said they have recently introduced more merino ewes into their flock.

“We used to run first-cross ewes, but they were killing our shearer, they were growing too big,” he said.

“Merinos eat less, and you get a better wool cut and more lambs.”

They will now join white suffolk rams to merino ewes, to breed lambs for the fat lamb market.

“White Suffolks produce very good lambs,” he said.

No average day

Harry said there’s no such thing as an average day on the farm, which was an aspect about the job that he enjoyed. “The great thing about farming is you’re doing something different every day,” he said.

“Usually I check the sheep in the morning, and then work on the crops.”

Harry said he played a big role in implementing a controlled traffic operation on the property.

“It would mean all of the machinery drives on the same tracks, which helps with your soil health, and makes lentils easier to harvest,” he said. “Better farmers have been doing it for 10 to 15 years, we’re still not completely there, but we’re getting there.”

Way out west

HARRY said a lot of his innovative thinking has come from an operation near Geraldton, WA, where he completed a three-month work placement. “They were very good farmers, and ran about 20,000 hectares, we were just hobby farmers in comparison,” he said.

“It was a very eye opening experience, I learned a lot.”

Back home

HARRY said after this he did a bit of work for an earth moving contractor, and then went back to work on his family’s farm. “Harvest was getting hard for Dad, so I went home to help,” he said. “I’ve been full-time now for about five years.”

Mr Young attended the Birchip Cropping Group trials review day on Friday.

He said the events were a good opportunity to network.

“I try to attend as many events as possible, it’s good to get to talk to other farmers about what they’re doing and improving,” he said.

“Going out and talking to people is the best way to learn.”

Future goals

HARRY said the family planned to slightly expand the operation by buying a sheep farm.

“It’s very hard to buy a property, but we’ll check out our options,” he said.

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