The choice of Liz and Craig Heggaton’s Evergreen Grazing Co as one of four producer demonstration sites in WA for the MLA funded Lean Meat Yield/Lamb Eating Quality trials, will be readily apparent to those attending their Kojonup on-property field day on September 13.
Poll Dorset ewes mated as lambs with twin lambs at foot
on the Heggaton’s Kojonup property.
Project coordinator and Murdoch University Research Scientist, Dr Kelly Pearce and WAMMCO’s Rob Davidson will be key speakers along with Craig Heggaton at the Kojonup field day, which is open to all interested lamb producers.
A barbecue at the end of the day will feature a comparative tasting of various types of sheepmeats.
The Heggatons were WAMMCO’s producers of the month for June 2013 with a consignment of 114 ram lambs from their extensive composite lamb breeding program at Kojonup.
Their private research program stems from an opportunity they saw to use the fertility and milking abilities of the East Friesian breed in a range of composite genetics.
On display on September 13 will be the ’Kojak’, a non-shearing, high fertility breed, the ‘Prolific’ a defined wool quality, high fertility breed, and a Poll Dorset stud providing terminal sires to underwrite production of prime slaughter lambs within the composite program.
There will also be discussion on trials of Charolais, Ille de France and other older breeds that are common in Europe but new to Australia.
A feature of the composite breeding program is that it recognises the underlying importance of the Merino to the sheep industry in WA.
There are now 10,500 commercial ewes and 1,500 stud ewes involved in the program which turns off around 10,000 lambs each year for slaughter.
The Heggatons began split mating ewes in December and January eight years ago and have also been successful in mating their ewe lambs.
Craig said the prime aim each year was to turn off around 50 percent of the slaughter lambs at 19-20 kg as spring suckers because that was the most cost effective option.
“In good seasons like this year, we have been able to maximise our sucker lamb turnoff, freeing pastures to carry more ewes throughout the summer. The remaining lambs are backgrounded on stubbles and go into our feedlot when they reach 39 kg,” Craig said.
A large scale feed pelletising plant under construction on the property will value add grain produced on the property to provide pellets for lot finishing lambs and for sale to other producers.
Craig believes that identifying and marketing the eating quality of lamb holds major potential for the industry, and that the lamb taste trials now under way, will be of vital significance.
“The prime lamb industry offers producers their best chance to get close to their consumers and with many new markets, particularly in Asia beginning to take more interest in Australian lamb, I believe that we have an enormous opportunity to keep our product development in tune with their tastes,” he said.
Further details: Dr Kelly Pearce 0417964473, Rob Davidson 0429380195, Craig Heggaton 0429882822