The Lees family at Pingelly could be described as the ideal family farming situation with two brothers, Robert and Michael actively involved on the property working alongside their father.
During 40 years of owning the property the working relationships have been perfected and many changes have occurred. One major change was the acquisition of “Bullaring”, 50km from their home property at Pingelly.
“About eight years ago Dad saw the opportunity to expand and we did. Now in total with the two properties we have around 9000 acres”, said Robert.
The Lees family utilize their land to run two enterprises, cropping and at their peak, 6500 Merino sheep. While being very different Robert explains how well these two operations work together.
“We had about around 100mm in January, so now we are using the sheep to eat down the weeds where we want to crop. This means we won’t have to spray as much.”
In 2014 a major infrastructure upgrade occurred on “Bullaring”; the purchase of a set of Atlex Sheepyards. Robert in particular was very impressed with the process.
“We kept going backward and forward with suggestions and design changes until we got exactly what we wanted. The design of the yards and the service we received was great. Ian always got back to us promptly. Some companies say they will but never do and you have to ring them three and four times. But if Ian Crafter tells you that he will be around next week to see you, he will be.”
The Lees family constructed their yards themselves.
“Ian pegged out our site for us. From then first day putting the yards up was a learning process, but we constructed them within 6 days. Everything was easy to follow and everything fitted where it should,” said Robert.
The Merino flock has also benefited from the upgrade with less injuries and fatalities occurring in the Atlex yards.
“Sheep run through the yards better. The yards are also a bit taller than the old ones, so in the Atlex yards they don’t jump and get caught and break legs. The new yards are just a lot softer on the stock”, said Robert.
Even with much of the family being involved, making things easier and saving time is always a priority.
“In the old yards it used to take around half a day to draft 1000 sheep by the time you fixed up parts of the yards so they worked. Now in the new yards it only takes a couple of hours, if that, with two men and a dog”, Robert says.