Jenny and Rob Egerton-Warburton have achieved their best everlasting crop in 17 years. (ABC Great Southern: Olivia Garnett)
With a friendly dose of rivalry, a husband and wife farming team are working together to grow their “best ever” commercial everlasting flower crop.
Jenny and Rob Egerton-Warburton have high hopes pinned to the five hectares of everlasting flowers growing alongside their sheep and grain operation in Kojonup, 300 kilometres south-east of Perth.
“We’ve just had a perfect season, I’m really pleased with it,” Ms Egerton-Warburton said.
“I think I’m going to struggle to house the seeds from my crop.”
Gifted a kilogram bag of raw, everlasting seed 17 years ago, the Egerton-Warburtons have used trial and error to grow their biggest crop yet.
“We just started off with a corner of a paddock and literally threw it on the ground and it germinated,” Mr Egerton-Warburton said.
The vibrant colours of everlasting flowers have blanketed paddocks of Egerton-Warburton’s farm in Kojonup. (ABC Great Southern: Olivia Garnett)
Jenny drives the marketing side of things while Rob is in charge of the agronomy.
Their close partnership has grown a sideline hobby into a lucrative addition to their business.
“It’s really profitable. It’s my money, supposedly, and I can pay for new cars and holidays and things like that,” Ms Egerton-Warburton said.
“It bridges the gap between the harvest cheque and the shearing cheque.
“Per hectare this is far more profitable than your crops,” she teased Rob.
The seeds of everlasting flowers retails for around $200 per kilogram. (ABC Great Southern: Olivia Garnett)
For Mr Egerton-Warburton, the everlasting flowers are a refreshing change to tending to sheep and wheat crops.
“As farmers, diversity is really important because the climate can be so harsh,” he said.
“It’s just lovely to look out across the paddock and see beautiful, big pink and white patches in the middle of the farm.”
After picking a few hundred fresh bunches this spring, which they post direct to florists, the Egerton-Warburtons will harvest the seed in late November to sell to nurseries and retailers around the country for around $200 per kilogram.