A strong faith in Merino mothers, access to the stubbles of neighbours and consistent processing feedback from WAMMCO, were ingredients that contributed to the July Producer of the Month title win for Mt.Barker/South Stirling producers Warrick and Lynda Cooper.
The Coopers consigned a line of 629 Merino/ White Suffolk and Poll Dorset cross lambs to Katanning for processing on July 24, that averaged $95.12 per head (including a $5.79 skin), to win the prestigious WAMMCO title for the month.
The lambs weighed an average of 24.2 kg and realised $3.69 over the scales on WAMMCO’s daily schedule. Just over 54 percent of the line were in the 22.1 – 26 kg, fat score 2-3 premium class.
Warrick is a committed woolgrower as well as a successful prime lamb producer and says he will retain the current wool/lamb ratio while wool prices maintain current levels or above.
He mates up to half of his Merino ewes to White Suffolk and Poll Dorset rams to produce the annual prime lamb turnoff, and also follows up the Merino ram mating with these rams to produce extra, later-drop crossbred lambs.
“We had a bigger carryover of crossbreds in a tight season last year and they fared reasonably well with the patchy season this year. We do not feedlot our lambs but run them on our own barley stubbles with some supplementary feeding, and are fortunate to have access to the stubbles of cropping-only neighbours.”
Warrick said he had not used WAMMCO contracts, preferring to sell over the scales on the daily schedule. Last year was an exception when lighter lambs as the result of the tight season were sold for the local market.
“I like the WAMMCO system because the feedback enables me to see accurately how my lambs are going, and how I can improve my returns.
“The seminars and field days are also valuable and demonstrate how far the industry has progressed from a few years ago, when we simply put the lambs in the yards and either invited offers or sent them off for processing virtually as an unknown quantity.”
Warrick said he cropped about 700 acres of barley and oats and ran conventional pastures on the Mt.Barker, South Stirling and Cheyne Beach properties.
“However pastures are on everyone’s minds as the next step towards improved productivity, and I expect to include perennials in our pasture mix within the next year or two.
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