A team effort between Woodanilling farmers, Richard and Karen Bessell-Browne, cousin Richard House of ‘Barloo’, farm adviser/Suffolk breeder Bob and Roxaine O’Toole and local Elders man Clark Skinner resulted in the winning entry in the 2004 WAMMCO/Katanning Agricultural Society Lamb Carcase competition.
Their 106 Suffolk/Merino cross lambs averaged 26.37 kg carcase weight with a fat score of 2.54, and were selected from a June drop of 1225 lambs from 1180 ewes.
The winning lambs averaged $84.24 per head. They were weaned and shorn in November and finished on pasture, tagasaste with twice-weekly rations of lupins and hay.
Richard said the result marked a final phasing out of Merinos for wool and wethers, in favour of lamb on the small Woodanilling property.
“We have always produced young wethers for sale, but are now seeing that prime lamb is more profitable than merinos or cropping, particularly on a relatively small scale.
He said 50 ha of tagasaste growing on eight separate areas of the farm, was integral to the success of the lamb enterprise.
A line of 113 Coolalee/Merino cross lambs won second place in the competition for Ian Quartermaine of Newdegate. The February drop lambs were from a 99 percent lambing and averaged 25.44 kg carcase weight with a fat score of 2.82.
2003 competition winners, N.W. & C.N.Perry of Borden came in third with the same mix of White Suffolk/East Friesian/Merino lambs averaging 26.1 kg carcase weight with a fat score of 2.99.
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