The fourth WAMMCO Producer of the Month win in four consecutive years, the fifth consecutive monthly win for the SAMM breed and a high WAMMCO Select bonus were highlights of the May title win for Mick and Todd Quinlivan of Quintarra Farms, Esperance.
With about half of their winning consignment of 1203 SAMM lambs off green lucerne – courtesy good summer rains- and the balance off good cereal stubbles, Quintarra averaged $102.68 per head, with 25 lambs fetching between $142 and $161 each.
This year’s average weight of 24.01 kg at $4.25 per kg compared with a bodyweight of 27.47 kg and $3.46 per kg to return $95.12 per head for the winning line of 667 lambs out of feedlot in June 2008.
Todd said the great bonus this year was that 445 of the lambs – or 37 percent of the draft – qualified for a new WAMMCO Select bonus of $2,142.76.
“That is the pleasant sort of surprise that makes you comfortable with your breed, because the genetics are showing in the kill sheets” he said.
Quintarra now mates around 9000 SAMM ewes each year and aims to drop the lamb crop onto green feed in May, June and July to achieve high stocking rates and high lambing percentages rather than top market returns.
He said last year’s start to winter was one of the worst on record but the late start was followed by a “kind” Spring and summer rains that started with the harvest.
“This rewarded our decision to plant lucerne and also added weeds as feed to the cereal stubbles,” Todd said. “The lambs went off to Katanning with virtually no hand-feeding.”
The consignment of 1200 lambs went away as seeding started for the 2009 cereal crop, and lighter lambs went into feedlot.
“With lamb prices now around $5 per kg we are hoping for a further bonus when the balance of our lambs go off over the next few weeks.”
Todd said the heavy exodus of sheep from the Esperance region in favour of cropping had continued in 2009.
“But with good lamb and sheep returns, higher cropping costs and other factors, it will be interesting to see if the tide begins to turn for sheep.”
Quintarra has been breeding its own replacement SAMMs for some years with an annual sale offering.
“The breeding and feeding program is fully self-sufficient,” Todd said.
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