Winning WAMMCO’s Producer of the Month award for December, 2017 has marked a return to the winners’ circle and capped another productive season for Brendon Tyrell and his family of Mt Ridley near Esperance.
|L-R: Brendon Tyrrell, sheepdog Uggy, Ros Tyrrell,
Aleisha Tyrrell (3) & Ethan Tyrrell (5)
of Swandale Investments, Mt Ridley.
Pioneeer family farmers of the Esperance region, Brendon, wife Ros, father Greg and partner Bev Hosking featured in the State carcase competitions of 2011/12 and 2012/13 and were WAMMCO’s Producers of the month for January 2013, and September, 2015.
They won the December title with a line of 205 SAMM/White Suffolk/Merino lambs processed at Katanning on December 20 to average 21.21 kg and return $126.81 per head. 96.1 percent of the lambs achieved premium status.
Brendon said 2017 had seen a year of ‘unbelievable’ lamb prices.
“Mixed drafts containing older, heavier lambs sent to WAMMCO in August and September had returned up to $190 per head with one line averaging more than $150 per head.
“Returns like that are excellent for those of us already in the game, but make investment difficult for newcomers or those wishing to return to sheep. We are still one of relatively few sheep producers within 50 km of here,” he said.
The Tyrells have increased their breeding flock marginally this year to 1300 ewes with 300 mated to Kolindale Merino rams, 700 in mid-October to SAMM rams from Sandy and Alan Forbes’ “Royston” stud near Albany, and 300 to White Suffolks from Nathan Ditchburn’s “Golden Hill” stud at Dumbleyung.
The prime lamb flock is self-supporting with second and third cross ewes retained each year, achieving 100 percent-plus lambings. An enterprise balance of 2,600 hectares to crop with 800 ha for sheep and prime lambs is maintained.
The family company, Swandale Investments switched from Merinos to SAMMS in 2003 with purchases from a dispersal sale of Esperance Rural Properties, and later from the Quinlivan family’s “Quintarra” and other SAMM studs. White Suffolks were added to the breeding ‘mix’ in 2012.
Grandfather, John Tyrell originally took up land to the east of Esperance in the 1950’s and in those days was regularly forced to drench his sheep to beat barbers’ pole worm.
Greg Tyrell purchased virgin mallee land at Mt Ridley in 1980, clearing it and quickly adjusting to the lighter rainfall.
“Despite some costly frost damage in 2016, the 2017 season has been excellent, with only a hail storm in mid-November and marauding wedge-tail eagles posing probably the most serious menace to the sheep/lamb operation,” Brendon said .
Primaries agent at Esperance/Salmon Gums, Barry Hutcheson has continued to assist with the management and marketing of Swandale lambs, mainly to WAMMCO.
“We follow developments at WAMMCO with keen interest and are impressed with the progress they are making to keep us competitive,” Brendon said.
“The recent sale of the local Shark Lake abattoir and its pending re-opening will also be of interest to local producers,” he said.
Greg Tyrell continues on active duty with both the Merino and prime lambs operations, assisted by his partner Bev Hosking who came to the Esperance region from South Australia in the mid 1970’s.
Brendon and his wife Ros are expecting their third child in April.
The WAMMCO winner is off to Country Week cricket carnival soon, celebrating well over 20 years with the Esperance team.