Peter and Craig with lambs in the feedlot at Pingaring
A decision four years ago to mate one third of their Nepowie-based Merino ewe flock to SAMM rams, is paying handsome dividends for WAMMCO’s April 2005 Member of the Month, Peter and Isla Jensen and family of “Uralla” Pingaring.
Their April award-winning shipment of 402 crossbred lambs averaged 26.44 kg and scored -0.287 on WAMMCO’s lamb competition grid – an outstanding result for such a large line of lambs.
Previous success included second place in WAMMCO’s 2003 statewide lamb carcase competition, also with SAMM/Merino cross lambs.
The Jensens will be making earlier contract arrangements for their 2006 lambs, having missed out on WAMMCO contracts for this year’s lambs. Even so the winning consignment of 402 crossbreds averaged $2.91 per kg for an average carcase value of $76.93. As an experiment, these lambs were shorn just before despatch to Katanning and after shearing costs, netted an estimated $8.30 per head for the lambswool.
Peter, daughter Rachael and sons Craig and Rob are firmly committed to their diversified livestock enterprises, despite a heavy investment in state-of-the-art cropping technology. The livestock operation includes the Uralla Prime SAMM stud that will be offering 50 rams from the next on property sale on September 22. The stud is based on SAMM stock from Rocco De Bellis’ “Gracefield” stud at Katanning. The family runs an Angus-based commercial cattle herd, as well as the Merino flock which has been based on Nepowie blood for the past 40 years.
Craig’s ‘conveyor-belt’ feedlot dispenses a silage/mixed grain ration approved by Dr John Milton to top up lambs before they go for slaughter, and also to assist with management of the Merino flock.
Pregnancy testing to identify multiple births in the Merino flock may be extended to the prime lamb enterprise. Lambing percentages have been boosted and successful trials undertaken on the feeding of lighter rations to ewes carrying single lambs.
The Jensens were early supporters of the Prime Merino Lamb Alliance which pioneered the contracting of out-of-season Merino lambs to WAMMCO. They began using Poll Dorset rams before switching to SAMMS in 1999.
“The SAMM X lambs are particularly suited to this area, where the seasons can be tough,” Peter said. “The way the season is shaping up this year, we will be cutting heaps of silage and harvesting a bumper crop.”
The Jensens use the same SAMM rams on different groups of ewes to lamb in April/May and mid June/July. There are regular family discussions on changes to improve the livestock enterprises on Uralla.
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