A big thunderstorm at the end of February and sound Merino/Poll Dorset genetics helped prime lamb newcomers Charlie and Sue Joyce of Castlak Farms Kukerin, to win Wammco’s November Producer of the Month title.
The rainstorm supplied a green pick for the mid-March drop of lambs through to June on the Joyce family’s Moulyinning property ‘Strathalbyn’ and confirmed the wisdom of their decision the previous year to develop a prime lamb enterprise
A line of 143 Merino/Poll Dorset cross lambs from ‘Strathablyn’ averaged 22.41 kilograms and $3.84 per kilo to return $86.03 per head to win the November title.
WAMMCO Select added another $4 per head to 48 lambs in the consignment for a bonus of $203.75.
A later draft of 108 lambs processed at WAMMCO early in December, averaged $102 per head. They included lambs that were shorn after not reaching weight targets for the first drafts.
Charlie decided three years ago that it was time to diversify his sheep flock from Merinos-only to crossbreds for prime lamb production.
He consulted Dumbleyung Poll Dorset studbreeder Keith Ladyman for advice and started with six rams two years ago.
“We mated 200 cull Merino ewe hoggets and cfa ewes to Poll Dorsets that year, and followed up with four extra rams from Keith last year to increase the mating to 450 ewes,” Charlie said.
“Scott Jefferis of Landmark Dumbleyung helped to select the consignments for WAMMCO and I was impressed with the results because we received a good price for the lambs and skins, as well as a trading bonus from the cooperative at the end of our first delivery year.”
Charlie has farmed ‘Hillside’ at Kukerin since 1976 after leaving school at the age of 15, and has run Merino sheep based on rams from his neighbours Ross and Nathan Ditchburn of Golden Hill stud since then.
“Our Merinos are ‘good, honest sheep’ with a big frame and robust constitution that has also shown to be excellent for prime lamb production.
Testimony to reputation of ‘Hillside’ Merinos came in June this year when a line of 330 Merino wethers sold at the special June sale in Katanning for $156 per head.
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