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Corkhill Family

Corkhill Family

As the fifth generation to farm their home property ‘Normanhurst’, near Boorowa on New South Wales’ South West slopes, Tom and Ashley Corkhill have a long tradition to live up to. However, while livestock and in particular wool remains the primary business of the Corkhill family the latest generation is by no means resting on these foundations.

Tom and Ashley, together with their respective wives Ally and Bernadette, run a wool, livestock and cropping operation across 1500 hectares of owned and leased country.

If this weren’t complex enough, they also run a contract farming business and Tom and Ally own and operate an agricultural supplies store in Boorowa with Tom continuing to work as the local agronomist. Ally and Bernadette have also continued to pursue their careers in nursing and the law, respectively.

With six children between them and no additional permanent employees on farm it’s enough to make anyone exhausted but Tom said while it has required some long hours and juggling it still seems to work.

“There are definitely times when we wish there were more hours in the day or even days in the week but so far we are keeping on top of things,” he said.

“I’m currently spending a lot more time in the shop than I’d like as we’re a bit light on staff here at the moment, so it’s meant I’ve had to be more on the bookwork side of things while Ash wears the brunt of the farm work.”

The Corkhills describe their business as being built around a wool growing enterprise with 6000 merinos producing 146 bales of 18-19-micron wool over the past year.

Corkhill Family

Stud production of both cattle and sheep also continues to provide supplementary income to the family with approximately 100 Border Leicester rams being sold each year and 120 of their Hereford stud cows currently in calf. 

“Border Leicester rams continue to be popular for the breeding of first-cross ewes with their ability to produce versatile lambs popular for both their wool and meat,” Tom said.

“We started the Hereford stud back in 1973 and it has gradually grown, this is the largest number of cows we have ever joined.”
Corkhill Family

NSW has been having a tough season with very little rainfall across much of the state, the Corkhills have got some crop in but Tom said the season has been challenging.

“We were fortunate to receive three inches around the end of February but there hasn’t been a great deal of follow up rain since then,” he said.

“We’ve got some crop in, around 65 hectares of grazing wheat as well as some oats and will plant canola in the next few weeks.”

While their country is dry, Tom said they were fortunate not to be having to buy in a great deal of feed so far.

“Right now, we are just feeding our young stock as well as our maiden ewes, and we’re hoping most will be able to carry through,” he said.

“Over the years we’ve worked toward ensuring reliable feed for our livestock, we’ve sown down cropping country to permanent perennial pastures and kept the nutrients up to it."