CATTLE FARMER: Ian Burnett. Jessica Dorey

Cattle producer takes the good with the bad

DRIVING on to Wyuna farm you'll see a mixture of cattle, river flat, irrigation and dryland cropping.

It's this mixed enterprise farm and family knowledge that has allowed farmer Ian Burnett to survive the ebbs and flows of the farming industry.

But with 15,000 acres of land, only 4000 of those are used for cultivating. The further 11,000 are used as livestock grassland.

Today the farm's head of cattle sits at 1200. Half of what is was before the drought stricken years of 2014/2015.

"Our numbers are fairly reduced at the moment,” Ian said.

"We sold cattle off in early January that we would've otherwise kept. But since then we've had good rain.

"It's been an incredible season since January.”

The regular rainfall in the region and the subsequent grass growth has lead to the upturn in the industry.

But with cattle prices driving through the roof and the industry only looking up, Ian has learnt from seasons past and chooses his actions cautiously.

"The combination of a rise in prices and good seasonal conditions means things are looking good for the short to medium term,” Ian said of his cattle production.

"We don't know what the future holds for the next two to three years so we are taking things slowly.”

Unlike others in the industry Ian is focused less on reacting to the boom and instead, looking more toward how his herd can survive long term.

For the Wyuna farm, this means keeping cattle numbers down and giving the land a rest.

"We're not looking to buy replacement cattle. Not only because they are expensive but because the land has had a rough few seasons. It needs a spell so we are only growing our herd naturally at the moment.”

Although Ian is enjoying the prosperity in the market, his attitude toward the upturn is like any farmer worth his salt.

"Even though the outlook is positive now, we will still treat decisions cautiously.”

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