|Sonia and Russell Harding in their new sheepyards at Newdegate|
An investment in a new set of integrated steel sheepyards confirms a renewed commitment to sheep and lamb production for third-time WAMMCO Producers of the Month, the Waddell family of ‘Springfield Farms’, Newdegate.
“With the bad seasons, a pending ban on mulesing and other problems of two years ago, we were set to leave the sheep industry altogether,” Beau Waddell said this week.
“But we have kept both our SAMM/Merino lamb enterprise and our Merino flock and the investment in new yards will assist with both,” he said.
The family won WAMMCO’s November Producer of the Month title with a draft of 231 SAMM/Merino cross lambs processed at Katanning on November 10. The lambs weighed an average of 24.08 kg and went over the scales at $4.21 per kg to return $106.43 including $5 per skin.
Eighty bodies qualified for WAMMCO Select , returning a bonus payment of $398.22 ($4.98 per qualifying lamb), or an additional 7.2 c/kg across the 231 lamb consignment .
The Newdegate-based enterprise won the Producer of the Month titles for August 2008 and March 2010. The winning November consignment consisted of lambs dropped in April/Mayfrom a mix of Springfield cull ewes and locally sourced Merino ewes after mating to ‘Tiarra’ and ‘Quintarra’ SAMM rams.
The lambs took full advantage of an excellent start to the season and remained on grass until delivery to WAMMCO.
With no further rain after August, a 600 ha property at Takalarup near Albany became pivotal to the livestock enterprise, and still has 500 lambs under the care of manager Scott Clements, pending delivery.
Beau and Michele are assisted by daughter Sonya and her husband Russell Harding in managing the Springfield enterprise which continues to focus on cropping, but 900-1000 ewes are mated each year to SAMMS and 1500-1800 ewes are mated to Merino rams. The properties also carry 300 breeders and around 1500 calves are bought in for backgrounding on stubbles and feedlotting at Newdegate under the direction of Lou Di Candilo.
SAMM rams from nearby Ross Taylor’s ‘Tiarra’ stud have been introduced over the past two years and Merino rams continue to be sourced from Lochie Lewis’ Pallinup stud. The aim is to retain more SAMM/Merino cross ewes,’but it is hard not to sell them when they are worth so much money,’ Beau says.
The cropping rotation has been changed to two years crop, two years pasture with good results. Low wheat yields this year were offset by a high quality grain harvest and high prices meant that most of the grain used in on-property feedlots was purchased as feed grain.
Beau attended the Lambex conference in August and was impressed by the positive outlook it generated. Cattle prices have also improved and we only need wool to keep following the example of higher prices for cotton, - plus a good season – to win the trifecta in 2011,” he said.