A draft of 1300 store Prime SAMM cross lambs purchased in February, enabled the Boyle family of ‘Hawkhurst’ York to take off WAMMCO’s Producer of the Month title for May. The lambs went onto lupin stubbles on ‘Hawkhurst’ for several weeks before being finished on Wesfeeds pellets in paddock feedlots for six weeks and going on to Katanning.
The winning draft of 630 lambs from the group weighed an average of 25.04 kg per head and returned an average of $99.14 per head, when killed on May 2.
David, Chris and Simon Boyle of ‘Hawkhurst’ are third generation, York lamb producers who have traditionally bred crossbreeds as well as trading and fattening store lambs.
“One of the biggest changes for us was adjusting our lamb weights up from 15 kg to 24 kg when WAMMCO became a cooperative and took us into the USA market,” Mr Boyle said.
“We have probably delivered about 90 per cent of our lambs, or about 20,000 lambs to WAMMCO since then.”
The Boyle’s successful breeding program for the past 30 years has been based on Border Leicester-Merino mothers and Poll Dorset sires - currently from Don and Bill Handscombe of Quairading and Bruce Gentle and Laurie Fairclough at York.
"We normally mate 2,000 ewes to Poll Dorset rams and achieve 105-115 percent lambs depending on the season,” Mr Boyle said.
The lamb/feedlot operation fits well with a wheat/lupin cropping program and an export oaten hay business the Boyles have run for many years.
All lambs are finished in paddock feedlots and are turned off to WAMMCO once they exceed 50 kg.
The family normally buys in up to 2,000 store lambs each year and saw an opportunity to buy the 1300 Prime SAMM lamb draft when Beverley producer Pat Curtin retired in February.
“We were not intending to buy stores this season because of the high feed prices, then Pat’s lambs came up and we decided to take a punt,” Mr Boyle said.
“We had seen SAMMS meeting the market for later lambs, with good growth rates and low fat scores and these lambs certainly confirmed those traits.”
WAMMCO forward contracts are used for around 80 percent of the Boyle family’s annual lamb turnoff.
Like April WAMMCO winner Jim Alexander of nearby Beverley, Mr Boyle is also a foundation member of WAMMCO and a long-respected advocate for WA’s lamb industry, recently returning to Sheepmeat Council of Australia for his sixteenth year.
He is supporting renewed efforts by new federal ministers Tony Burke and Simon Crean to win a greater EU lamb quota for Australia.
Son Simon (24) recently returned to ‘Hawkhurst’ after completing an apprenticeship with Westrac.
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