When former Albany pharmacist George Clark retired to go full-time farming in the mid-1990’s he shared some of WA’s first Texelseed stock with Q-Lamb pioneer, Alan Jarman, never imagining he would see the price of lamb in WA going above $100 per head.
George took WAMMCO’s June 2011 Producer of the Month title with a line of 104 Texel/SAMM lambs that weighed an average of 24.54 kg and realised $5.91 per kg on WAMMCO’s daily schedule to return $150.37, including a skin value of $5.25.
Almost half of the consignment (49 lambs) qualified for a WAMMCO Select bonus of $349.24 that added $3.36 per body, or 13.8 cents per kg over the entire consignment. “I must be doing something right, because my previous consignment to WAMMCO of only 67 lambs in May, averaged $150.17 c/kg with 50 lambs, or 74.6 percent of the delivery qualifying for a WAMMC Select bonus,” George said last week.
He said a trial of SAMM rams over some of his Texel ewes and the addition of chicory to his summer pasture mix of ryegrass and sub-clover contributed to the winning result. “I agonised for some time over using chicory in the pasture but it bolted away with goodsummer rains and greatly assisted the lambs to keep ‘ticking over’ during key periods,” he said.
G.A.Clark Nominees is based at Lower King near Albany and runs 200-250 Texel ewes together with 300 Angus breeders. The ewes are descended from some of WA’s early Texel genetics obtained by George and Alan Jarman in WA for their ‘Braeside’ stud, run on George’s Lower King property. George introduced SAMM rams last year to boost hybrid vigor. He said the June winning consignment consisted of about 50 percent lambs from pure Texels and 50 percent from Texel/SAMM.
“The SAMM’s have improved frame and lifted wool quality and my aim now is to return to using Texel sires over ewes of about 25 percent SAMM blood.” The lowest priced lamb in the consignment apart from discounts for ovis and arthritis, was $107.88 for a lamb at the bottom of the weight range (18.6 kg) , while there were 15 lambs over $160 per head with a top animal of 30.70 kg paying $181.13.
“It is pleasing to see the lamb industry facing such a bright future,” George said. “Wool is now the by-product of prime lamb with serious prices for quality meat showing up in the pay packet.
He recognised WAMMCO’s contribution to the industry in setting production and processing standards and regarded the take-over of Southern Meat Processors in Goulburn NSW as a positive move that would benefit WA members of the cooperative.