A rare opportunity for WA’s prime lamb producers to benefit from a direct link with the processing and marketing side of the meat industry, is a unique feature of their ownership of WAMMCO, according to recently endorsed WAMMCO director-elect, Hamish Thorn of Kojonup.
Hamish was nominated at WAMMCO’s June board meeting to replace retiring foundation director and chairman for many years, Dawson Bradford – subject to the endorsement of shareholders at the cooperative’s annual meeting in October.
Hamish said after his recent, first inspection of the cooperative’s Katanning processing plant that WA’s sheep and lamb producers were priviledged to share the benefits of such an advanced, globally acknowledged asset.
WAMMCO’s global trajectory is well ahead of consumer demands and expectations and has continued raising its levels of efficiency and innovation to maximise returns to its members. That makes the cooperative an essential fit with our sheep enterprise.
As a director-elect of WAMMCO, I am excited by the prospect of having such a unique insight into how integral meat processing and marketing are to our success.
Hamish is a Marine Science graduate from University of WA, also with a Masters of the Environmental majoring in Water Catchment Management from Melbourne University.
Sharing his father Geoff Thorn’s interest in sheep breeding, he returned from his environmental work to the family farm at Kojonup eight years ago to work with his brothers Lachlan and Rohan on an expanding operation based two thirds on cropping and one third on prime lamb production.
A strong feature of our partnership is the positive working relationship where both crops and sheep enjoy equal focus, support and optimism for the future.
With profit and easy care as the main goals, the brothers agreed to replace the traditional Merino flock with self shedding, high fertility, rapid growth rate genetics from Kojonup neighbour, Craig Heggaton’s ‘Kojak’ breed and ‘Ultra Whites’ from Dawson Bradford at Cuballing.
“We are mating 6,500 ewes - including ewe lambs at 7-8 months -, that are marking an average of 120 percent lambs,” he said.
Hamish said there were an increasing number of young farmers sharing a passion for profitable prime lamb production based on science and technology.
Strong prices alongside WAMMCO’as annual rebate is making the sheep industry an attractive game to be part of. But I think information technology is what is ‘hooking’ younger farmers, by providing the scope to fine-tune breeding programs and boost productivity.
“Linking electronic ID tags with information from the new DEXA carcase scanner, soon to be installed at Katanning, will offer exciting new opportunities to farmers selecting for breeding characteristics such as marbling,” he said.
Further details: Hamish Thorn 0457 424 986
WAMMCO Chairman: Craig Heggaton 0429 882 822
Media: Geoff Gare 0414 683 531
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