A decision to ‘get serious’ about prime lamb production four years ago has paid off for Garry Bungey of Borden in the form of the WAMMCO Producer of the Month award for April.
“Sheep need to be an integral part of our farming system in this area but low wool prices were making Merinos-only an increasingly questionable option,” Garry said.
An early member of the Prime Merino Lamb Alliance, he was using terminal sires over his Eastville Park, South Yardup merino ewe base as lamb prospects started to improve in the late 1990’s. Four years ago he moved to SAMM and East Friesian sires in a dedicated prime lamb production enterprise that now involves about 2,300 ewes. Ewe lambs from the venture were recently mated to White Suffolk sires and Gary also plans to use Poll Dorsets in an ongoing quest for fertility and carcase quality.
He takes the view that once the correct breeding, feeding and quality settings are achieved, premiums for the product should follow. Like many other WA producers he has become a close follower of WAMMCO’s pricing schedules as they reflect tightening margins from overseas lamb prices.
The winning consignment of 168 lambs was processed at Katanning on April 12.
More than 90 percent of the lambs went into the premium class to attract a $3.30/kg contract rate, which with skins, produced an average return of $84.99 per head.
Garry tries to avoid locking up lambs to feed them to the premium weights and this year was able to deliver most of his lambs to WAMMCO off lupin stubbles, with a successful supplementary hay mix of oats peas and vetches.
He denies that there is keen competition between himself and cousin David in the prime lamb business. David was WAMMCO’s Producer of the Month in January 2005.
Further details: Ian Brown WAMMCO 9262 0999 Media Geoff Gare 953 77669
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