BUNGONIA property ‘Inverary Park’ was a hive of activity on Friday morning when they received a visit from Chinese delegates from the Chinese Wool and Textile Association.
Madame Huang Shu Yuan and Mr Li Dong visited the 1800 acre property, belonging to Phillip and Diane Broadhead, approximately 5kms east of Bungonia to see how the sheep were shorn and also to inspect the quality of the fleece.
“I think it was fantastic having the Madame Huang and her crew out here today seeing what we do ‘from the ground up,’ Mr Broadhead said.
“The more they can see where the wool actually comes from, the better I think and it gives them a better appreciation of wool.”
Wool has been in the Broadhead family for five generations, after they arrived in the Bungonia area in 1853.
“We grew wheat for a long time and the first ever mechanical harvester in Australia was used on this place,” Mr Broadhead said.
“We are also breeding cattle, but wool has always basically been the main enterprise.
Mr Broadhead is now starting to take a bit more of a back seat, and wants to spend more time with his wife and family.
“We normally shear about 270 sheep a day on average, and at one time we used to shear about 3,500, but now we’re only down to about 1,200 head,” he said.
“I’ve changed my attack as I get older and going for more cattle and less sheep. It just creates less work and more holiday time for Diane and I. Wool does have a future- I think it’s sad to see it so depleted in the quantities of it. But I think wool will still be around in another 100 years. We’ve always been able to make more money out of wool than anything else. There’s obviously been bad years and good years and droughts etc., but sheep are very flexible animals and can adapt to their conditions.”
Between 70 and 80 per cent of Australia’s wool is imported into China every year, with approximately 250,000 tonnes of it purchased by the Chinese textile industry.
Madame Huang emphasized the importance of Australian wool to the Chinese market.
“China is probably the biggest buyer of Merino wool in the world, and today we came to the farm to see where the wool comes from,” she said.
“This is the first time we’ve ever come to Australia and we are very excited to see the sheep graze on such natural green and fertile land. We were told that there are approximately 60,000 wool farms across Australia, so to come to just one of these and see the origin of the wool is fantastic.”