Our farming business is spread across several properties with our original farm and home base, Thornby, at Sanderston, about 1 hour east of Adelaide. The McGorman family has been farming Thornby for over 120 years, today spread across a wider area through acquisitions of some neighbouring properties.
Thornby is located in a low rainfall environment with an annual rainfall of 300ml (12 inches). Although rainfall is not high, the country is well suited to cropping with our business continually cropping the whole property with winter cereals to match the land’s capabilities. Seeding of our 6,000 acre (2,430 hectare) program (this includes some share-farming of neighbouring land) starts in April each year and includes vetch and oats for both hay and grains, lupins, wheat and barley. Minimum-tillage practices are used to help improve soil quality and manure from the lamb finishing system is spread on the paddocks prior to seeding to reduce the reliance on artificial fertilizers. Annual tree planting has been a constant with 500-1,000 trees planted on Thornby each year.
Hay production has become a significant part of cropping enterprise with mowing of vetch and oats starting in September and baling of around 4,000-5,000 continuing into October. Grain harvest generally starts in late October/early November and can flow into the New Year if there are rain delays. All of our barley and lupins and kept for our own use in the lamb finishing system.
We have relatively recently purchased the breeding property St Ives at Parndana on Kangaroo Island, a move from our existing breeding property at Coonalpyn in the Upper South East of SA. St Ives is located in a high rainfall area with 650ml (26 inches) of rain annually. This is a very different environment compared to Thornby and carries its own set of challenges. The property is well suited for prime lamb production. We conservatively stock the property with around 5,000 ewes, well below the production capacity but within our personal levels of comfort.
We strive to create a sustainable environment and have a strong commitment to preserve the environment we farm.