Mating first cross SAMM ewe lambs to Suffolk rams and backgrounding lambs for WAMMCO on stubbles prior to finishing them through a two tiered feeder system, is a plan working well for April Producer of the month title winners Jim and Tim Alexander of Beverley.
Jim, a respected lamb industry advocate for many years, began breeding Merino/Poll Dorset cross lambs for the prime lamb market, when he moved to Beverley in 1977.
Three years ago, he and son Tim extended a trial they had started using SAMM rams to produce first cross ewes that were then mated to Suffolk rams to produce what they regarded as an ideal lamb.
“SAMMs are brilliant mothers and their progeny usually reach WAMMCO’s US export weights without running to excess fat.
“Wether and cull ewe lambs are prepared for WAMMCO starting with stubble grazing in groups graded according to their body size.
“Faster growing lambs are moved onto a top ration in one of two separate lines of feeders and go straight to WAMMCO once they reach minimum weight. Slower performers remain on stubble or are progressed to a second feedlot before going into the top line of self-feeders,” Tim said.
“We use grain grown on the property with hay available ad lib and we will have up to 1500 lambs in the feedlot in peak times.
“This system enables us to sell about 4,000 lambs a year from January through to July/August with a very useful cashflow supplement to our cropping income.”
Tim said grading the lambs to size, weighing them as necessary, and keeping groups on uniform diets to match their growth rates using the two-feeder system, was a key to the success of the operation.
The Alexanders also preserve key pasture paddocks, planting extra clover as required and keeping them outside the cropping program for up to seven years to maximise their pasture productivity.
A line of 386 lambs killed at WAMMCO Katanning on April 1, averaged $97.81 cents per head including skin to win the Producer of the month title.
The winning draft weighed an average of 25.34 kg and the 386 lambs were valued on WAMMCO’s schedule at $3.65 per kg with a skin value of $5.33. 84.2 percent of the draft were in the premium class with 77.7 percent in fat score category 3.
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