A 2004 decision to invest in local SAMM prime lamb genetics as a hedge against increasing problems in the Merino industry, is now paying handsome dividends for Dumbleyung farmers Colin and Jacki Ball and their family.
A line of 163 SAMM lambs from their Dongolocking Farm delivered 96.9 percent of carcases in WAMMCO’s premium grade to win the cooperative’s Producer of the Month title for October.
The lambs were processed at Katanning on October 4, at an average weight of 21.59 kg to return $122.59 per head including skin.
Colin and son Marc said sound returns from this and other lamb consignments this season had greatly assisted their recovery and boosted their confidence after a severe frost that decimated roughly half of their 2016 harvest.
“We decided to go to the local Rockdale SAMM stud for rams in 2004, when there was serious talk about banning mulesing and ongoing indifference in the wool market.
“Our Merino base had been East Mundalla at Tarin Rock for many years and we began using SAMM rams over about 200 cull Merino ewes,” Colin said.
Today, the prime lamb enterprise consists of 1000 ewes, 50/50 SAMM and cull Merino, with a Merino flock of 2,400 ewes adding an improving income from about 200 bales of 21 micron wool each year.
SAMM rams currently used are from the nearby Cronin family’s Bunkin flock, which is also of Rockdale origin.
“The SAMMS are extremely easy care and we find them excellent at scavenging paddocks to prepare them for cropping.
“They have excelled again this year over the late start and wet finish to the season.”
Colin said local Landmark agent Scott Jefferis was integral to the lamb operation, undertaking most of the classing, weighing and marketing operations, and assisting with building truck consignments for WAMMCO.
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