WAMMCO’s December 2006 Producers of the Month, Byron and Liz Bungey of Borden were total cropping farmers until six years ago.
The brighter future for prime lamb at that time tempted them to attend Rod, Simon and Bruce Cullam’s inaugural on-property sale of SAMM rams at Jerramungup and to become one the stud’s first clients.
Byron and Liz now mate about 2,700 SAMM/Merino cross ewes each year and are also experimenting with FI/Dorset crosses with lambs due to drop in April.
All of the lambs are contracted to WAMMCO with some from the spring flush and others going to Katanning progressively from a 1200 lamb capacity feedlot on their property.
Their winning December 2006 draft consisted of 162 lambs with an average carcase weight of 26.67 kg for a total return per head including skin of $91.38.
“Our production ratio is now 70 percent crop, 30 percent prime lamb,” Byron said. “We have gone back from two matings to a single mating each year per year to reduce the workload and we are keen students of the breeding, feeding and market information advice available from WAMMCO field days and other sources.”
Even in tight seasons the Bungey’s have recorded lambings of 100 percent or better.
Liz Bungey has been a State member of the Sustainable Grazing for Salt Lands committee for the past three years and is also vice-chairman of the North Stirlings/Pallinup Natural Resources Group, interests that have led to some innovative pasture development on the Borden property.
“The performance of our perennial pastures was amazing, considering we had only seven inches of rain for the season and got through mainly on subsoil moisture from the previous year,” Byron said.
“Our lucerne is in its fifth season, with chicory, phalaris and perennial ryrgrass being planted over the past three years to complement a base of Dalkeith sub clover. “The plants performed well despite the disastrous 2006 season, and are now ready for an early break in 2007,” he said.
Byron and Liz are the third members of the Bungey family group at Borden to win a WAMMCO Producer of the Month title, joining his relatives David and Sarah and Garry and Nola. They have also been in the top category of producers in past State Lamb Competitions and have an entry in the 2006 event with the winners to be announced at Katanning next month.
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