Merino/poll a win­ning combo for farm fam­ily

Great Southern Herald - - News -

Tam­bellup pro­duc­ers Ben and Tracey La­mont are on a length­en­ing list of WA farm­ers re­ly­ing on a qual­ity flock of merino breed­ing ewes to gen­er­ate good re­turns from their 20 mi­cron wool, and a solid an­nual in­come from prime cross­bred lambs.

Mr La­mont’s fam­ily won WAMMCO’s Pro­ducer of the Month ti­tle for June with a line of 144 poll dorset/merino lambs that av­er­aged 20.95kg to re­turn $129.12 per head in­clud­ing skin.

Most (97.2 per cent) of the lambs fell into WAMMCO’s pre­mium value cat­e­gory.

“The lambs went to WAMMCO ear­lier than usual be­cause of a tight start to the sea­son. They were in good con­di­tion but lighter than nor­mal with 70 per cent record­ing fat score 2 and 30 per cent fat score 3,” Mr La­mont said.

“We were us­ing poll dorset rams for cross­breed­ing be­fore I took over the prop­erty from my fa­ther Rob­bie La­mont in the late 1990s, be­cause of their proven abil­ity to gain weight faster so that you could turn them off ear­lier.

“Four hun­dred of our cur­rent breed­ing flock of 800 of our cur­rent breed­ing flock of merino ewes were mated to poll dorset rams from Curlew Creek this sea­son with a fur­ther 1000 ewes mated to merino rams. Other pro­duc­ers have moved to in­tro­duce prime lamb ge­net­ics into their breed­ing flocks but we have found our dorset/merino cross re­turns sat­is­fac­tory, whilst also en­abling us to con­cen­trate on im­prov­ing wool qual­ity within the pure Merino ewe flock.”

An­nual shear­ing was moved back from Au­gust to July many years ago to en­able ewes to bet­ter mother their lambs, in­creas­ing lamb­ing per­cent­ages. Mr La­mont said the mat­ing pro­gram aimed to have ewes lamb­ing at the end of July/early Au­gust. Older ewes are mated to the poll dorset rams to lamb in April for sale as suck­ers in Septem­ber. These ewes have also been re­turn­ing good div­i­dends from sales to­wards the end of their breed­ing cy­cle.

Seven­teen-year-old son Bren­dan was home from Nar­ro­gin Agri­cul­tural Col­lege last week drilling oats into ex­ist­ing clover pad­docks to boost green feed sup­plies later in the year. Bren­dan and his dad aim to seed about 100ha of oats a year.

Bren­dan agreed that a farm­ing ra­tio of 70 per cent live­stock to 30 per cent crop­ping has evolved as their best op­tion be­cause of the solid prof­its avail­able from lamb and wool, com­pared with high crop­ping in­put costs with di­min­ish­ing re­turns, and the added flex­i­bil­ity they have for manag­ing the prop­erty.

His sis­ter Stephanie was also home on leave from Albany’s Great South­ern Gram­mar last week.

Mr La­mont said both he and Rob­bie had used ex­ten­sive soil test­ing as a ba­sis for farm­ing and de­vel­op­ing the prop­erty. A visit to WAMMCO af­ter the cur­rent plant up­grade would be a pre­req­ui­site for Bren­dan to see a fu­ture line of their lambs pro­cessed.

WAMMCO’s June pro­duc­ers of the month Tracey, Ben, Stephanie and Bren­dan La­mont of Tam­bellup.

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