Elders Ltd.

01/25/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 01/24/2023 22:15

Resilient wool growers take out top award after 140 years on the land

On the outskirts of Morgan in the southern pastoral area of South Australia, you'll find sheep farming enterprise Wonga Pastoral Company.

F.W. Lindner settled Wonga in the 1880s on a lease of just 200 hectares. With many predecessors driven away by drought, skilful and careful management of Wonga has allowed the property to grow to over 50,000 hectares with a capacity of over 15,000 sheep.

Wonga is still very much a family affair, owned and managed by the Lindner family today. Third generation farmer John Lindner, along with wife Ronda, and their two sons, Will and David, operate a partnership which has seen tremendous success, particularly in their wool production.

Wonga's first clip came off in 1929 and was sold by the Lindner family through Goldsbrough Mort & Company, prior to merging with Elders.

93 years on, and after achieving Clip of the Sale on at least 10 different occasions, Wonga took out Elders' SA Supreme Clip of the Year for 2021/22.

Upon accepting the award, John commented how proud he was to finally take out the top gong.

"We have been growing wool and selling it for a long time, and have now achieved our objective, which was to come out on top," he said.

"We look forward to future years in the sheds."

Wonga's wool was selected from a pool of nearly 1200 SA clips, scoring 92.4 out of a possible 100 points.

Perhaps one of the most remarkable qualities of the wool was the fact that it was grown on just four inches of rain.

David Lindner explained that a lack of rainfall is not ideal for their business, but can provide some surprising benefits, such as evenly grown wool.

"Only having four inches, you don't experience those spikes of rainfall during the year that make the wool grow faster or slower," he said.

"This can be an advantage as it means your tensile strength becomes quite good.

"Also, being such a dry year, we grew limited feed, and therefore didn't have much burr or seed in the wool, which lifts your yield."

Will said that despite these benefits, dry years are very hard on the family's morale.

"You slowly see your land deteriorate, before your eyes, and there is nothing you can do about it.

"You just have to wait for the rain."

And rain it did. Thankfully, since taking out the Clip of the Year, the Lindners have had approximately ten inches of rain; their whole average annual rainfall in just ten weeks.

David said this has been essential to bring the country back to life.

"It gives us a really good ground cover, bringing back our native grasses.

"To see the country recover, it's going to be great for us long term, because it has time to bounce back before the sheep put grasses under pressure again."

Although the temptation to quickly graze sheep on the renewed pastures is high, the Lindner family love to see their land looked after, with a genuine focus on sustainability in their operations.

"We do much better long-term by letting our land recover," David said.

"That certainly puts pressure on the business side, but it all pays off in future years."