A big lift in WAMMCO’s lamb price schedules gave May’s Producers of the month, Phil and Helle Crossley, more money per head for a consignment of 103 SAMM/AMS cross lambs that averaged nearly 4 kg less than the 192 lambs that won their first Producer of the Month title for April last year.
“We were surprised to win the May award, because we thought the lambs may be too light.
“But it is very pleasing to compare this return of $6.26 per kilogram including skin, or $139.61 per head for 103 lambs weighing an average of 22.6 kg, with the $4.89/kg or $132.92 per head we received in April last year,” Phil said.
Whereas the family continue to sell some sheep at auction, and recently made good money on some old, barren ewes , they have been consistent weight and grade sellers of lamb to WAMMCO for the past two years.
WAMMCO Select added a bonus of $224.76, or $6.61 per head on 34 bodies of the 103 lambs processed at Katanning on May 31. The payment lifted the average return on every lamb by $2.18 per head or 9.7 c/kg.
The Crossleys sold off their Merino sheep flock in 2000 to go total cropping, after dividing a family farming partnership. Frost and weed problems with cropping brought them back to sheep, this time with SAMM rams from Rocco De Bellis’ ‘Gracefield’ SAMM stud at Katanning and AMS ewes from local breeders Peter Eckersley and Jamie Dare for prime lamb production.
There are now 1100 SAMM/AMS cross breeding ewes on the 1,352 ha Katanning property, ‘Congee’, with an increasing SAMM influence.
Phil said the season had been ‘softer not wetter’ resulting in excellent lambing percentages that would enable him to further increase turn-off.
He included oats to his cropping program this year for the first time in many years, and also has a big percentage of lupins in the program. Dalkeith and Urana sub clovers have been undersown with the oats and wheat and are also ‘doing well’.
“In some years we are battling to get clovers to move, but they have been mind-blowing this season.”
The inclusion of a strong feed component in the seeding strategy is designed to lighten the costly burden of buying in feed. “We have been relying on pellets for the past six weeks to get us through and I am hoping to reduce that dependency,” he said.
Phil applauded WAMMCO’s recent move to take over the Southern Meats processing plant at Goulburn in NSW.
“I can see WA producers benefitting from a wider source of lamb and mutton and I think NSW producers will be quick to see benefits from the way WAMMCO operates.”
He said his family’s return to prime lamb production, would probably not have occurred or been profitable without the stability and incentives offered by the cooperative.