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Discover what it takes to produce quality GRAZE lamb for Coles.

8 January, 2024


Growing up on the family sheep farm was pretty idyllic for Willy Morrison and his brother Askin. “We would swim in the river and build cubby houses,” says Willy. “We spent a lot of time working with Dad, too.”

The Morrison Pisa Farm is located in Cressy, Tasmania, a 25-minute drive south of Launceston. It was originally bought by Willy’s great-grandfather, also named Askin, in 1929, and has been passed down from father to son since then. These days, Willy and his brother run the property, together with their dad, Ian.

Today, the Morrisons grow a diverse range of products, including potatoes, wheat, barley and canola – but it’s the lamb they produce for the Coles GRAZE brand that’s a natural fit for a family who’ve been sheep farming for almost 100 years.

The GRAZE Lamb revolution

To be verified as a GRAZE Lamb producer by Coles, farmers have to meet a strict set of criteria. “GRAZE Lamb means the animals are free to roam in open pastures and graze on the land, without being fed any cereal grains,”

Willy says. “We maintain the best pastures we can for the lambs based on our climate, and they’re lucky to have a variety of plants to graze on. They typically graze on clover, chicory or grass.” The lambs are also 100 per cent Australian bred and aren’t given any antibiotics.

Willy says moving to producing lamb for the GRAZE range that’s exclusive to Coles – which was introduced in 2020 – was an easy process for the business. In fact, meeting the rigorous Coles criteria is something the family actually embraced. “Coles has a very high standard for quality, and that’s matched with our high standards, especially in the care and pride we have for creating our product,” Willy says. He believes it’s these high standards and the healthy life the lambs have on his farm that lead to a great-tasting product for Coles customers.

Farmer with cattle dog

Perfect growing conditions

According to Willy, one of the other reasons his sheep are healthy is the ample water supply in the area, which means lush green grass all year round. “It’s the combination of irrigation water and rainfall that makes Cressy so good for sheep farming,” he adds.

The Morrison farm operates as part of an Integrated Sourcing Model, which means they breed and raise some of their own lambs, and buy and raise others from a community of Tasmanian lamb farmers across the state who also meet the GRAZE lamb standard. Willy brings these lambs to his farm because of the location’s superior climatic conditions and water supply that are perfect for rearing lambs.

Thanks to the Integrated Sourcing Model, the Morrisons are able to buy lambs throughout the season from farms that don’t have the ready access to resources that Willy has, guaranteeing a longer supply into Coles stores and quality Tasmanian lamb for Australians for nine months of the year.

And Willy wants Aussies to know how important it is to him and his family that customers have a good experience with their product. “It feels great knowing that millions of Australians are sitting around their dinner table enjoying the lamb that we’ve passionately produced,” he says.

A farmer with cattle

The family business

During spring and summer, days on the family farm can be full and include everything from lamb marking, which means vaccinating and tagging the lambs, to checking on the health of the ewes and moving the sheep around the property. It’s that diversity that Willy enjoys about his job. “I love that I’m doing something different every day, and season to season and year to year – I love the unpredictability. I guess I just like the challenge because we can never know what’s coming,” Willy says. He concedes that with his family lineage there wasn’t much chance of a different career path. “I don’t think I’d be any good at anything else!”

Willy and his wife Annabelle have three young sons of their own: Jack, 8, Henry, 6, and Sid, 5. Currently the boys are showing some interest in the farm, which is something Willy would love to see continue as they get older.

“While I wouldn’t force them to be farmers, I do hope they have a similar upbringing to mine,” he says. “And they always show a little bit of interest in helping out – if it’s a fun job, that is!”



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