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Farmer aims for shift in fortune

HOLDING ON: Geoff Bisley from Dungorm, near Gore, is hanging on for a break in the season.
HOLDING ON: Geoff Bisley from Dungorm, near Gore, is hanging on for a break in the season. Toni Somes

IF HE wasn't facing such a battle at home, going to Warwick Saleyards last week would have been heartbreaking for Geoff Bisley.

The Gore producer sold four-month-old white suffolk merino-cross lambs for just $13 ahead at the weekly sale.

While he described the lacklustre bidding as "disappointing", the dry reality in the paddock left him little choice but to sell.

"It's been a long summer, feed is pretty scarce and we have water problems in a couple of paddocks now," Mr Bisley said.

"But a lot of people are in much worse situations than I am.

"One of my neighbours has had shorn sheep getting bogged in his dams.

"What we really need is rain."

But the dry spell wasn't the only challenge facing this young grazier, who runs sheep and cattle on Dungorm, a property he leases near Gore.

He lost 300 lambs early in the season in wild dog attacks.

"I got (the dog) but I'd already sustained pretty significant losses," he said.

Now he is hoping a shift - he's moving his stock to another property he leases on the Stanthorpe-Inglewood Rd - might bring with it a change of fortune.

"I have leased a property called Verona from Geoffrey Elliott and some of the country hasn't been stocked for a while, so feed-wise, it should be a good move," Mr Bisley said.

"But the whole region is bloody dry, so it doesn't really matter where you go - everywhere needs rain."

A former shearer, Mr Bisley has been running a 50:50 sheep and cattle operation. But with the move he plans a switch in emphasis to wool-growing .

"I think the traprock country is better suited to wool-growing - or rather sheep than cattle," he said.

"I won't be breeding much though - I think it will have to be a wether-based operation."

When asked if the increase in wool growers would mean a return to shearing, he laughed. "No, I was a shearer but I have officially retired - again."

Topics:  cattle livestock sheep warwick saleyards