The originator of Dowerin’s prime lamb production ‘trio’, Darrel Hudson of Yleena Farm, has won his second WAMMCO Producer of the Month title with a line of 109 SAMM/Dorper lambs that were processed at the Katanning abattoirs on March 20 for a per head return of $115.76.
Darrel and wife Diane, who won their first WAMMCO title in June 2010, encouraged their Dowerin neighbours Scott Flavel, and January 2014 Producer of the Month Jarrad Hollins to expand into prime lamb production.
The trio now works together with WAMMCO and their carriers to minimise their transport costs to Katanning and to maximise their returns.
“It is easier for three of us to top up a four-decker, or a B train load to Katanning, with WAMMCO’s Rob Davidson and the cooperative’s receival staff assisting us with bookings, particularly during the heavy supply periods,” Darrel said.
He attributes much of his lamb production success, since moving from Merino/Poll Dorsets to a SAMM/Dorper flock in mid 2000 to the genetic incentives and producer feedback offered by WAMMCO.
“The real bonus of dealing with WAMMCO came in October last year with the excellent trading rebate we received. It came like a bolt out of the blue after a very tough season, and it confirmed that when the cooperative does well, producers can also do well,” Darrel said.
The winning line of 109 lambs were from Dorper cross, F2 SAMM mothers and averaged 23.25 kg with individual lambs scoring up to $134.50. The weights were more than a kilogram shy of the average for the June 2010 Producer of the Month title of 232 lambs that averaged $125.36.
“We enjoyed a good finish to the season after a tricky opening that caused us to keep ewe numbers tight, and the lack of summer rain allowed us to finish the lambs on high value, weed-free stubbles and pastures.”
Darrel said he had been able to trim his breeding ewe numbers because of the excellent increase in lambing percentages since he began to identify twins in his pregnancy scanning program.
“Our overall lambing percent is above 120 percent and by identifying SAMM F2 twins earlier, we have been able to boost their lamb survival rate to around 130 percent.
“The excellent finish to the season meant that we were actually understocked at the end.”
The Hudson family is leasing some of the Dowerin property and Darrel continues to run the SAMM/Dorper prime lamb enterprise on about 40 percent of the property with casual help and an extra hand from his father Peter during the busy times.
They have continued to source both Dorper and SAMM rams from the ‘Margam’ stud of Steve Slater at Gingin.
“Steve is a relatively small stud breeder, but he is maintaining good genetic gains, introducing new bloodlines, and continues to keep us progressing at a satisfactory rate,” Darrel said.