March turned out to be a month of major achievement for Jerramungup lamb breeders, Rod and Simon Cullam of Cullam Prime SAMM stud.
A line of 153 of their SAMM lambs scored WAMMCO’s March Producer of the Month award soon after they had been announced as third place getters in the heavyweight section of the 2010/11 State carcase competition. Then , fellow Jerramungup producers and regular clients of the Cullam Prime SAMM stud, Graham, Chris, Wayne and Marie-Claire Barrett won the State lamb competition section for consignments of more than 300 lambs.
All of the Cullam competition and commercial drafts defied chronic seasonal conditions to record high weights and high prices.
The winning Producer of the Month draft of 153 SAMM lambs weighed an average of 22.89 kg and returned $6.05 per head including skins and a WAMMCO Select payment of $742.67 on 71.2 percent , or 109 of the lambs processed on March 31.
It was one of WAMMCO’s highest percentage payout since the WAMMCO Select system was introduced.
Lambs at the top of the WAMMCO scale were priced at $5.90 per kilogram with a few heavier individual lambs returning more than $180 per head. The WAMMCO Select bonus was worth $6.81 per head on the 109 qualifying lambs, or 21.2 c/kg, or $4.85 per head over the consignment.
Simon said this week that he had been ‘reinvigorated’ by LAMBEX in Perth last year and was pleased that predictions of continuing buoyancy in the lamb industry were ringing true.
“It was hard to accept predictions in 2009 that lambs would be more than $100. Now we are seeing predictions of $140 per lamb becoming a reality.
“We have not seen a good season for at least three years, but our lambs have thrived and our returns have been excellent,” he said.
Cullam Prime SAMM stud was the third of the breed to be registered in Australia and followed Rod’s decision to join the SAABCO syndicate that began accessing the meat/wool sheep from South Africa via embryo imports in 1997.
Simon was immediately dedicated to the ‘cause’ and travelled Australia and Western Australia promoting Prime SAMM and Cullam at shows, field days and sales.
The Jerramungup stud’s first on-property sale was in 2001, followed by the first major sale in 2003 when 100 rams averaged $2,000. 50 Cullam rams went to buyers in the East last year with WA buyers taking the balance.
“A continuing decline in sheep numbers and the proliferation of studs offering top genetics has had an impact on the stud business, but we still keep ahead of the game and enjoy the achievements of our many stud and commercial breeder clients,” he said.
Today’s Cullam breeding flock consists of 3,000 ewes including about 650 stud Prime SAMM ewes and a complement of around 600 Merino ewes purchased a year or so ago when the ‘price was right.”
“We have a good mix of 1st and 2nd cross SAMM ewes with the ewe flock giving us an average wool clip- of 22 microns, that is increasing in value.”
“Other bonuses this season have been a 135 percent conception rate with the current lambing, and the sale of our dry ewes for $111 per head.”
Simon said Cullam had a whole-system approach to keeping ewes in prime condition prior to mating and lambing, to ensure clean paddocks for lambing and weaning and to provide fresh stubbles for shorn weaners.
“We aim to produce 42-44 kg liveweight lambs for the feedlot and then to add 8-10 kg over three weeks to guarantee a minimum 22 kg carcase. “Easy One pellets are proving economic because the lambs gain weight from day one,and ther pellets remove any uncertainty created by mixing your own rations.
Simon’s father Rod Cullam travels up from Albany to assist Simon and his partner Helen with the lamb and cropping operations on the Jerramungup freehold and leasehold properties.
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