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Hello everyone, my name is Callum Willmott. I farm in the Cunderdin Shire along with two adjoining Shires in the Central Wheatbelt east of Perth WA. Our annual average rainfall is 330mm.

Our enterprise consists of mixed cropping and a self-replacing merino sheep flock with a 80/20 split respectively. Cropping consists of wheat, barley, lupins, GM and TT canola and oats. Years ago, we were mainly livestock consisting of sheep, cattle and even some pigs but over the years the cropping area has increased with a vast reduction in livestock numbers and mix.

After boarding for 5 years in Perth I returned to the farm and in addition to farm work completed the Curtin University Associate Degree in Agribusiness at the Muresk Northam Campus. 

Currently, our business consists of 3 generations actively working together. Yes the dynamics at times can be interesting but I am learning heaps from both my parents and grandparents whom have years of experience and knowledge to share with me.

As I write this, we are waiting for rain to complete our cropping program. Even though we have received 80mm so far this year, our opening rain of 10-12mm occurred on 28 April, so a vast majority of the crop had been dry sown. We started with some pasture feed consisting of various mixes of vetch, oats and lupins then progressed to our lupin sowings. Canola, oats, and barley plantings commenced after the opening rain and then continued with wheat. We are eagerly awaiting a good drop to allow us to finish seeding wheat into mainly 2 year sub clover pasture country which is very dry.

Along with our cropping program, much time has been spent this year hand-feeding our sheep and fortunately, we have sufficient on-farm feed consisting of lupins, oats and oaten hay. We initially were not going to mate our ewe flock this year but ended up mating 50% of them, but with a 4-week later mating than normal. The ewes have been lambing for the last couple of weeks albeit on bare paddocks.

Current challenges we are facing this season, besides the lack of initial rain, centres around whether livestock can be maintained as part of our business. With the future demise of our live export market and the current frustrations of selling sheep at fair saleyard and abattoir prices the question is whether it's all worth it? This is a decision that may need to be made sooner rather than later.

Despite the current challenges (and many more to come no doubt), agriculture is such an exciting industry to be involved in, with advances in machinery, plant breeding and our ability to help feed the world. I look forward to the challenges ahead in my farming career!