Ongerup farmers Tim and Vicki O’Neill were surprised to learn they had won WAMMCO’s Producer of the Month title for March.
“The 665 lambs in the winning consignment were mainly from ewes we had purchased from producers at Tambellup and Nyabing and mated with our Poll Dorset rams,” Tim said.
“Our agent Mike Moore said they were good when he was selecting them, and WAMMCO buyer Brian Norsworthy complimented us on the lambs when he came to inspect them, but we sent them off at the end of March, not expecting to win the title.”
The O’Neill lambs averaged 23.52 kg and came in on WAMMCO’s daily schedule at $3.27 per kg to realise $76.95 per head. A further $3.45 for pelts took the total per head to $80.40.
Of the 665 lambs processed by WAMMCO at Katanning on March 28, 56.5 percent were in the premium, 22.1 – 22 kg fat score 2-3 category, priced on the day at $3.40 per kg.
Tim said he was particularly pleased with the yields from 594 lambs scanned at Katanning. 84, or 14 percent were included in the high yield benchmark of 54 percent and 373 lambs or 62.8 percent were in the average 49-54 percent category.
Tim and Vicki started crossbreeding their Mianelup merinos in 2000 and found the transition reasonably simple.
“We started with a small flock of ewes and I found the first WAMMCO returns of around $80 per head very acceptable,” Tim, said.
“Each year since has gone reasonably well and when we can reach the heavier weights, the lambs go to WAMMCO.”
He said the lambs in the winning consignment were shorn on November 5 and originally went onto oat stubbles before grazing lupin and barley stubbles until they were delivered to Katanning.
The mineral/vitamin supplement Stockade has been used over the past few years and Tim believes that it assists the growth of lambs on stubble.
He said the 2007 season was dry and slow to start but came to a ‘miracle’ finish.
Tim and Vicki are winding down their sheep/lamb operations, but son Greg and his wife Peta are continuing the family Merino/cropping tradition.
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