Founded in 2000 by fine wool producers Morgan and Deborah Sounness on their Gnowellen farm, nestled in the foothills of the Stirling Ranges, Tamgaree Kikuyu has grown to become a major supplier of Whittet Kikuyu seed to customers around Australia.
The catalyst was that Morgan had been receiving downgraded prices due to staple weakness in wool produced on his farm because of seasonal feed deficiencies and resultant changes in diet for his fine wool flock. This together with witnessing erosion, loss of topsoil and nutrients due to the lighter soils across more than half of his property led Morgan to search for a solution that would benefit the soil by providing a year round ground cover and provide a consistent feed base for his sheep.
Experimenting with kikuyu seed sourced from eastern Australia, planted in a 5 hectare ram paddock, soon showed the potential of well managed perennial kikuyu pastures to resolve both problems much to the joy of the Sounness family and the benefit of their sheep, their wool and the soil on which it all relies.
Such was the result that Morgan began the long journey to develop a successful kikuyu harvest operation which started with a ride on mower and has since evolved to proprietary pre harvest pasture management followed by a train of uniquely modified Horwood Bagshaw clover harvesters that thresh the kikuyu glooms and capture the kikuyu seed.
Having spent their life working on the farm, breeding fine wool sheep and developing a successful kikuyu business Morgan and Deborah made the decision to retire in 2021, selling the farm, livestock and other assets including the Kikuyu business.
Having purchased and planted Tamgaree Whittet Kikuyu in 2020 as a pasture renovation on a 450-hectare property at The Lakes (70 km east of Perth) Steve Meerwald was convinced of the merits of this prolific perennial grass as it prospered in the gravelly Woottating hills and thrived on the increasingly regular summer rainfalls that broke the typical 40 degree plus summer weather cycle.
Planting 90 ha in 2020 and a further 95 ha in 2021, the property has transformed with kikuyu forming the base of the summer pastures, supplemented with annual pasture mixes sown directly into the kikuyu to provide for winter and spring feed, the clovers recharging the soil with nitrogen to the benefit of the kikuyu as it emerges from its winter dormancy.
The first harvest under the new ownership was in summer 2022 with 335 ha of Wellstead kikuyu pastures on 5 farms being harvested to produce 25,000 kgs of harvest sample before cleaning.