Gnowangerup farmer Arthur Parker, who was one of the producers to help WAMMCO pioneer the thriving US market for heavy prime lamb, has won the Co-operative’s July Producer of the Month title.
His winning line of 280 Suffolk/Merino cross lambs averaged $93.79 including skin, with 92.5 percent in the premium grades. They averaged 26.21 kg with a competition score of -0.217 on WAMMCO’s judging grid.
The lambs were sired by newly introduced rams from the Banksia Plains Suffolk stud of Trevor Stone and John Banks at Borden from ewes purchased from neighbours Todd and Kay Blythe’s Avonlea Merino flock. Arthur has also recently been trialling Coolalee rams.
Concern that his lupin-fed lambs might be putting on too much condition, and unable to obtain a booking with WAMMCO in 2002, Arthur sent a draft of heavy lambs to the Katanning market. They briefly held a new State record of $93.50 per head.
WAMMCO’s Livestock Manager Peter Krupa who bought the lambs, announced at the time that they were the type the cooperative needed for the newly developing US market and that WAMMCO would be offering contracts for score 2, 3 and 4 heavy lambs.
Arthur went on to top score with WAMMCO contracts, averaging $134 per head for one draft with some individual lambs nudging the $150 mark in 2004.
He has moved away from lupins as the primary feed for his lambs to wheaten hay and oats as the best combination to achieve the most desirable weights. He has also developed the technique of trailing out feed in parallel lines so that the shy feeders can move across onto fresh feed with a minimum of effort. This practice has also minimised the ‘tail’ in each mob.
He has not owned a sheepdog for many years and is proud of the fact that he can drive to within metres of his lambing ewes in a paddock without unsettling them. Low stress is a feature of all stock management on “Ever-Rest” with mobs ‘drifting’ between paddocks, and into and out of yards with a minimum of handling. Shelter is also a major feature with 20 percent of the Gnowangerup property retained as trees.
Arthur is a keen supporter of WAMMCO’s contract system “because it takes much of the guesswork out of the system.”
Further details: Geoff Gare 953 77669
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