Blythswood lambs from the Ongerup property of Robert and the late David Hooper, have won the family’s second WAMMCO Producer of the Month title in two years – for February 2008.
Blythswood also won the award in October, 2006 with a return of $79.42 per head for 151 SAMM Merino cross lambs weighing an average of 24.79 kg.
This year’s title was for 378 SAMM/Merino cross lambs with an average carcase weight of 23.86 kg for an average per head of $83.90.
Robert Hooper said he and wife Kylee were carrying on the lamb enterprise with little change to the formula started by his father eight years ago when he purchased rams from the Gracefield stud of Rocco de Bellis at Katanning, to become one of the first commercial users of SAMM rams in WA.
“We continue to achieve good results with Gracefield rams, and we are still mating in November/December and weaning about 1200 crossbred lambs onto lucerne paddocks,” Robert said.
Mike Moore of Landmark Gnowangerup is responsible for negotiating supply arrangements for the Blythswood lambs to WAMMCO at Katanning.
A feedlot built on the property two years ago has yet to be used because the lucerne paddocks have sustained the annual crop of lambs.
About one third of the 5,000 Merino ewes on the Ongerup property are mated to Gracefield SAMMS and the remainder to Merinos.
“We select the older ewes for mating to SAMMS for greater ease of lambing, and are lucky to have keen staff to assist with the lamb enterprise,” Robert said.
About 800 hectares of lucerne is grown and grazed on a five year rotation as part of a 3,300 ha annual wheat/canola/barley cropping program.
“There are no plans to increase the cropping ‘mix’ at this stage because we regard our sheep enterprise as valuable ‘protection,’” Robert said.
He also continues to diversify with his Blythswood Transport business.
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