A thin stand of Serradella and a finish on lupin stubbles left after one of the worst seasonal cut-offs for years, were all that carried a consignment of 216 lambs from Borden producers Dave and Sarah Bungey through to win WAMMCO’s Producer of the Month title for January 2005.
The consignment was the first from a White Suffolk/Merino lamb cross dropped in July when conditions on the Bungey property at Borden were already tight. The 216 lambs averaged 25.88 kg carcase weight for a return with skins of $84.51 per head.
An impressive 98.15 percent of the lambs met the premium grade criteria to average $3.16 per kg over the scales.
Dave, a third generation sheepman with a Barloo-based Merino flock, has been a strong supporter of the Prime Merino Lamb Alliance since its inception, and last year was making over $100 per head on his contract lambs.
The ewe flock is now mated to produce either Merino or crossbred lambs signed whenever possible under contract to WAMMCO, and delivered via a feedlot if necessary, by March/April each year. This fits well with 70 percent of the family farming enterprise devoted to cropping.
“We decided last year to switch to White Suffolk rams selected on EBV data from Roy Addis at Nyabing, for better skin and growth values and mated them for a July drop.
“With only 7.5 inches of rain for the growing season, Serradella pastures that grow 2-3ft tall in a good season, reached only several inches before the lambs went onto them in October, before being finished on lupin stubbles. I was unable to get these lambs in under contract, but most of them still scored $3.20 per kg.”
Dave is a staunch advocate of WAMMCO’s lamb contract system.
“It has enabled us to understand how WAMMCO operates and what they require from us to meet their export demands. I believe there is already a case for longer term contracts – up to five years - for us to supply quality lamb at a viable price,” he said.
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