A program of mating Merino/Dohne mothers to Poll Dorset rams at Munglinup, and moving the weaners to Salmon Gums for finishing on standing oat crops, is proving a winner for P.A. Tucker Pty. Ltd. of Myamba Downs and their manager Bill Evans.
A line of 646 lambs from the Salmon Gums property realised $76.87 per head under contract to WAMMCO to win the cooperative’s January Producer of the Month title.
The consignment averaged 24.15 kg per head with 83.6 percent of the lambs in the premium 22.1 – 28 kg fat score 2 and 3 class.
Myamba Farms manager Bill Evans said the prime lamb project was started five years ago, with the purchase of the former ERP property, Munglinup Station. Bill also joined the family enterprise at that point, after operating a farm agency and a contract agricultural business at Salmon Gums for the previous 15 years.
“Myamba was previously about 50/50 cropping and Merinos, but the extra land at Munglinup offered an ideal opportunity to diversify,” Bill said.
“We started infusing Doehne genetics with the Merinos to build a flock of about 7,000 first cross ewes, and used Poll Dorset rams from Brimfield stud at Kendenup to mate these ewes in November. The lambs are dropped at Munglinup in May, weaned and shorn in September, and trucked to Salmon Gums.
“Six weeks later they are weighed and graded and stocked at 10 lambs/ha in the standing oat paddocks.”
Bill said the major cereal cropping program at Myamba was varied to include crops of oats on paddocks closer to the shearing sheds and yards, to take the lambs from Munglinup Station.
“We are principally a cropping system at Salmon Gums, and including a pasture phase in the rotation was not sustainable.
“Placing the heavier lambs in the closest oat paddocks also assists with mustering and management because we are able to draft off the first consignments around Christmas, then progressively move the lighter lambs closer to the yards.
“We watch our profit margins closely, and when the weights and price are right, the lambs are contracted to WAMMCO or sold on-property to other buyers,” Bill said. “We are not locked in to feedlotting, so there is a minimal labour requirement, we are not pressed for space or feed, and each of the paddocks are reticulated.”
“WAMMCO contracts underwrite the lamb enterprise and have worked well for us, particularly over the past three years of developing the system.”
Oats for the lamb venture are normally seeded in April, and account for about 2,000 ha of the Myamba/Munglinup 11,000 ha annual lupin, canola, barley and wheat cropping program.
Self-seeded oats usually provide valuable feed for a second season, before the paddock is returned to the cropping rotation the following year.
Bill said the Myamba Downs operations at Munglinup and Salmon Gums involved a total of 22,000 hectares.
“Although the two farms are 125 km apart, we run them as a single operation, with three permanent men on each property and casuals as required.”
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