A decision by the Quinlivan family at Esperance in 1997 to adopt SAMM genetics as ‘the way forward’ has continued to pay dividends with their seventh WAMMCO Producer of the Month award – for July 2011.
Todd Quinlivan said SAMM rams began replacing Merino rams on Quintarra Farms from 1998.
“We started with a good Merino ewe frame and most of our breeding flock of 8,500 – 9,000 ewes now consists of third and fourth cross SAMM. There was also a good wool base at the beginning and this has carried through to pay dividends, now that wool prices have reached current levels.
“Strong selection pressure continues to be applied to increase fertility and lamb survival and we believe there is still room for improvement in these areas,” Todd said.
Quintarra Farms’ winning consignment consisted of 132 lambs processed on July, just before the seasonal shutdown of WAMMCO’s Katanning processing plant.
The lambs weighed an average of 25.52 kg and were valued at $6.19 per kg, to return an impressive $163.48 per head including skin ($5.51).
They were dropped on coastal country and transferred to stubbles before being shed finished for delivery to WAMMCO.
WAMMCO Select bonuses accounted for $7.60, or 29.8 c/kg on 95 of these lambs, this amount being equivalent to 21.4 c/kg over the entire consignment. The payment compared to a WAMMCO Select bonus of $4.74 on fifty qualifying lambs in the consignment of 101 lambs that won the previous January 2010 Producer of the Month title.
Todd said WAMMCO Select had become a valuable boost on returns from the lamb enterprise and he was keen to focus on ways to ensure maximum future gains from the system.
Another key component of the lamb enterprise was the finishing shed, now used to condition about half of the annual Quintarra lamb turnoff.
“Grain quality and price tends to dictate the rations we use for shed finishing and we have tended to buy in pellets and feed grain rather than to use our own over the past two seasons.”
There had been a good start to the season for the western properties but those to the north and East of Esperance were running a month later. Producers with livestock in these areas would need good run-off rains between now and the start of harvest to get through.
“Many of us are also baiting heavily to try to control foxes and dogs which are taking the shine off lamb production, particularly where the vermin have the cover of crown land and tree plantations.”
The late break had also seen more emphasis on the grazing of some crops this season.
Todd said it was pleasing to see the optimistic predictions for lamb at LAMBEX and from other forecasters running true, along with a reasonable current outlook for most rural commodities.