Meet a Spring lamb farmer

With quality lamb at its peak, we meet one of our farmers, Shane Dellavedova, from Maryborough, who’s dedicated to putting the animals first.

Spring lamb farmer Shane Dellavedova on his property

 “People are interested in how animals are treated and we, as producers, have a responsibility to be 100% open and answer those questions,” says Shane Dellavedova, a third-generation sheep farmer in Victoria.

With a passion for ethical animal husbandry, the welfare of his flock is never far from this farmer’s mind, and he’ll readily answer any questions on the subject. His primary concern is that the animals are happy, healthy and stress-free.

“It’s a matter of putting the animal first every time,” he says. “Animals that experience minimal stress and are really happy with life will tend to be the most productive.”

Shane’s property, which has expanded over the years after his great-great grandfather bought the original 20 acres, is ideal for sheep farming. Located in Maryborough, Central Victoria, the family farm is bounded by forest, offering shelter, and enough high-protein fresh green grass to ensure the lambs achieved a healthy weight each day.

It’s the fresh, grass-fed diet that means lamb is at its peak in Spring, when the winter sun and rainfall deliver optimal growing conditions: usually from May to the end of September. Spring lamb is genuinely natural, and, like wine, the soil type and climate in different regions create subtle differences in flavour.

“It is so simple, so natural and so good,” Shane says. “You are converting grass into lamb and nothing tastes better.”

Shane began farming with his grandfather when he left school and has always had a passion for agriculture. His sons Chris and Jeremy have now joined him in the family fertiliser, sheep and grape-growing business, and while he acknowledges there are “tough days and easier days”, it’s a lifestyle he finds very satisfying.

The key to lamb’s popularity, he says, is that it’s seen as a favourite family meal, and that the quality is reliable, something he has ensured in supplying Coles on and off for the past 20 years.

There’s a constant focus on improving processes and technology, ensuring the animals have minimal stress in their daily lives and there is as little human intervention as possible. Everything from the lambs’ nutrition to the pastures and composition of the grass is checked and monitored, with an emphasis on providing shelter and assistance at lambing only when needed.

“We try not to interfere with them at all,” Shane says. “Right from start to finish the less we can have to do with the animals directly the happier we are and the happier they are.”