WAMMCO’S new criteria for their Producer of the Month award has not only brought new contenders from a wider area of WA into the winners’ circle, it has also intensified competition between the top scorers each month.
POM coordinator Rob Davidson said October 2017 was no exception with winner Colin Ball’s score of 96.9 percent of his lambs in the premium grade, just ahead of two lines of lambs from Aldersyde breeder Wally Mills at 95.9 and 95.8 percent, and another separate draft from Pingelly breeder, Bruce Sewell at 95.7 percent.
He said tight seasonal conditions had made the job of achieving premium weights and grades tougher for everyone turning off lambs.
Wally Mills said he was surprised to learn that his drafts of October lambs had performed so well.
“We were really hard pressed to get them to the required weights because we had virtually no pasture and were using lick feeders in selected paddocks to get them up to scratch.
“We were also hearing about big numbers of 30-32 kg lambs going east or onto boats because producers were unable to feed them.”
Wally said four inches of summer rain had sparked a terrific pasture germination, but there was no follow-up and the pasture died. He was still holding around 800 lambs on the property in November when normally, all of his lambs had been sold. A carryover legacy was that he had been unable to buy in around 400 breeding ewes for next year’s lamb operation and would have less lambs to market.
Bruce Sewell said early decisions to reduce his cropping program by several paddocks and to drench his lambs early, and to spray early for red legged earthmite, appeared to have paid off.
Areas of red clover disease appeared to have survived after spraying.
“We were going OK until the end of October when the feed disappeared and lamb weights began to drop dramatically. We will be feeding probably around 750 lambs over Christmas for market in the new year.
“Thankfully our ewes are in top condition and we will be mating the Border Leicester cross ewes this week, and the SAMM cross ewes the following week.”