The Smith family has been breeding merinos at Glenwood since 1898.
Norm and Pip are fourth generation Smiths on Glenwood.
Glenwood was originally a part of a large acreage of land taken up by the Martin family as squatters based at Gunnegalderie in the mid 1800s. In 1898 part of this land was purchased by Henry Smith of Geurie Station with a loan to his son Norman of £2000.
Over a number of years, adjoining blocks were added to Glenwood until at one stage it comprised over 9000 acres. As well as Glenwood, Norman also owned Glenrock and Bulbudgeree.
Norman HL Smith ran quality merino sheep and in 1902 won the Champion Ram at the Dubbo and Wellington show with a ram called Storm.
Quote from the Sydney Mail –
“Storm is not yet two years old, and is the property of Norman HL Smith, of Glenwood near Wellington. His sire Billy, first in the age class of the same section is of principally Mudgee blood – of the JD Cox strain. The old ram has great length of body, rather too much so whilst his son is compact and nuggety. His best quality is the great evenness of the fleece all over his body. I have seen denser fleeces but few that handle better.”
In 1914 Norman Smith purchased top stud rams from the renowned Zara stud in the Riverina due to the severe drought at the time. This promoted the quality of wool produced from the progeny of these rams as noted in the Sydney Mail in 1919.
In 1929 Mr. Norman Smith purchased 2 rams and 297 ewes from Bundemar to establish Glenwood Merino Stud.
HL (Lester) Smith continued the management of Glenwood through from the 1930s until the 60s. He continued the fight with rabbits and further improved the production of Glenwood. He was one of the first farmers in Australia to spread superphosphate from the air and later sub clover which greatly increased the carrying capacity. The merinos through this period continued to improve and develop to suit the land base. Malcolm McLeod was the stud classer. Photos also show how much the sheep had changed from 1902.
In the mid 1960’s Brian Smith took over the management of Glenwood and continued a great tradition of innovation and absolute pride in all that was Glenwood. He became a pioneer in establishing improved pasture from the air and divided the property up into more productive areas and built dams in all paddocks on the property. In 1982 he purchased Tilbelah and built a house, woolshed and irrigation system to drought proof both properties.
In the mid 1990s Norm took over the management and passion for Glenwood.
Since 1996 the stud has used SRS® genetics with outstanding results. The breeding technologies developed by ex-CSIRO researcher, Dr Jim Watts, have accelerated genetic improvement, improved animal welfare and improved overall enterprise profitability exponentially.
Norm and Pip Smith live on Glenwood with their five children – Chloe, Amber, Maggie, William and Daisy.
Care of our land
At Glenwood Merinos, we are very passionate about improving the land for future generations. Glenwood is not just a profit centre and we aim to achieve a balanced outcome for the landscape, livestock, business and the people. This has led to productivity gains and a clear path for a ‘sustainable’ future in all senses of the word.
We first looked into holistic farm management in 1998 and felt that not only did it fit well with our resource base and its predominately native pastures and superphosphate and sub clover history, but it also fit in well with our own values and our desire to lessen inputs while maintaining outputs. In changing to a holistic approach, we subdivided some paddocks and added watering points. At present, the 4000 wethers graze in one mob over 30, 130-150ha paddocks. The aim is to average 40-50ha paddocks for the wethers. The stud ewes and lambs graze in two separate cells, divided into 25 and 30 paddocks with 30ha and 10ha average size paddocks.
The results have been impressive, with greater diversity of desirable perennials using time controlled grazing – enabling short graze periods and long rest periods. We monitor Glenwood’s progress bi-annually and annually using indicators such as the level of ground cover and type of ground cover, perenniality, evidence of organisms and type of perennials. We are also managing the livestock to minimise chemical use as well as aiming to lower the worm burden by better grazing techniques and eliminating the need to jet for fly strike through genetics and management.
It is our view that the global customer is evolving at an increasing rate and issues like chemical residues and ethical production will be pressures that we have to live with and adapt to. Being proactive in this respect will present opportunities for Glenwood and our clients moving forward. We ceased mulesing in 2005 and have consistently achieved a premium, whether it be 5-10 cents or more, specific non-mulesed wool orders and have had access to markets and customers we wouldn’t have had otherwise by staying in the auction system. We are also creating a point of difference based on processing performance, telling our story and showing our sustainable approach to production and by giving the customer the clean, green fibre they are increasingly looking for.