“I was born into farming. You could say I don’t know any better,” Myles Mullooly shares with a laugh. Myles has always lived and farmed in the Gisborne area.
He and his partner Adriana Tuscia farm 600 ha in two locations. In their high country at Matawai, they are transitioning from a romney to a perendale flock with the help of stock manager Ben Malone. At Whatatutu, where they live, the focus is more on breeding & finishing terminal cross lambs. “The ewe flock here can be a bit more of a mixture & so the wool also, as we’re not breeding our own replacements.”
Adriana joined Myles just over 5 years ago. Myles jokes, “She wandered up my driveway and thankfully she hasn’t wandered back out again.”
Originally from Auckland, where she had her own design business, Adriana unpacked a very large truck & went about taking care of the batchelor solo dad. “It was so different from everything I was used to. It has taken 5 yrs just to get the hang of the farming routine. I think I can now safely call myself a jack of all trades and master of none.” she says, She works hard at times to stay invested in the farm. “There’s a mountain of tasks & I never feel like I get on top of them like I used to in my own business, where there was often a sense of personal achievement.” Adriana looks after the accounts, helps out on the farm & pops up with her greenie animal health cures at appropriate moments. Myles reckons she’s always keen for a new challenge, like the shearing school she insisted on going to early this year. “Wouldn’t mind a chainsaw course next.” She adds.
Why Primary Wool Co-operative?
“We initially became shareholders several years ago, but it wasn’t until recently that we started selling some our wool through EPW,” Myles says. “Gisborne EPW man, Ross Buscke recommended the co-op to us. Ross eats, sleeps & breathes wool. I’ve known him as long as I can remember. I used to shear in his shed. So next he jacked up a meeting with Hamish De Latour, who’s a pretty convincing sort of a bloke & here we are. I think it’s great that they are branding wool in a niche market, that marketing push is what brought us on board. We can’t just keep sending it off to auction & hoping to get better money for it.”
Myles has seen what Just Shorn are doing in the States to promote our carpet wool & educate about the fibre. Like many farmers he would like to see the branding process return more to his bottom line sooner rather than later. He recently saw the clip of David Fagan shearing on American breakfast television. He says, “This highlighted to me the huge difference in our worlds. The rush rush of their information culture, so different to ours; this makes it a challenging environment to effectively communicate our story in…”
Myles & Adriana also appreciate the sponsorship that Primary Wool Co-operative is putting back into the industry with NZ shearing sports. They often see the Primary Wool Co-op logo at competitive shearing events as they follow his daughter Catherine Mullooly, who is one of the young up & coming women shearers in the country. Myles with fatherly pride, tells of her success this year when she finished the shearing sports season as the top ranked intermediate shearer in the country. Becoming the first woman to achieve this in any grade since the annual classifications were first compiled in 1992.
“I have a lot of hope for wool. I’m a bit confused why so much of the world fails to understand it’s superior qualities. It seems a no-brainer to me.”