A SAMM ram “escapee” that produced 430 lambs, also produced October’s WAMMCO Producer of the Month title for David and Robert Hooper of ‘Blythswood’ Ongerup.
“We let him go free when he kept jumping out of the yard, and he went on to produce all those lambs from two mobs of ewes,” David said. The last 151 of these lambs took out the October award with an average of $79.42 per head from an average carcase weight of 24.79 kg.”
The consignment was killed at WAMMCO, Katanning on October 25, with 78.8 percent achieving premium class and 62 percent weighing in above 24.1 kg.
The Hoopers were early commercial users of SAMM rams in WA, taking their first draft about six years ago from the Gracefield stud of Rocco de Bellis at Katanning and using sires from the Katanning stud over their Merino ewes ever since.
David said the lamb operation fitted well with their sheep/cropping enterprise on the 6,000 hectare “Blythswood”.
“We sow lucerne in a four year rotation to correct weed, water table or other problems, before cropping the area. These lambs were straight off an 80 ha lucerne paddock onto the truck,” he said.
“Mike Moore of Landmark Gnowangerup negotiates all of the contract and delivery arrangements with WAMMCO and our job is to get the lambs ready.”
Lamb production has averaged about 500 a year, but David and Robert are in the final stages of completing a feedlot to take around 1000 lambs in January/February, aimed at ‘capturing out-of-season highs.’
David says lamb and mutton prices have been excellent over the past few years.
$80 for a lamb is damned good money and producing them, even in a tight year like this one, fits well within our program,” he said.
A shearer for many years, David said he bought his first block of farmland at Mt.Barker – instead of buying a car. The move to Blythswood came in 1990.
Son Robert and his wife Kylee are proprietors of Blythswood Transport, as well as running the farm.
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