High marks for lamb numbers

22 Aug, 2015 02:00 AM
Pastoralists Association of West Darling president Chris Wilhelm, Inkerman Station, via Broken Hill.
Pastoralists Association of West Darling president Chris Wilhelm, Inkerman Station, via Broken Hill.

THE season in Broken Hill is ticking along, with most pastoralists looking to the skies for pasture-finishing rain.

Pastoralists Association of West Darling president Chris Wilhelm said country north of Broken Hill was generally in good health, with plenty of surface water captured, but south of the Barrier Highway it was a different story.

"We didn't get as much rain and it's getting very low on surface water," he said.

"People are starting to rely on bores, if they have them.

"There were good, light rains in May and June, which helped pasture germination, but the cold weather since hasn't allowed them to have the potential once promised.

"But at least it's all there - if we can get a good rain in the next few weeks, we should still have a reasonable season."

Mr Wilhelm, who runs 3000 Merino ewes and 130 Poll Herefords on his 21,860-hectare Inkerman Station, via Broken Hill, said lamb marking was well underway in the region, with mixed results.

"I just finished marking myself, averaging 82 per cent," he said.

"That's down on last year, due to a number of factors, but mainly because I mated my maiden ewes in a large paddock and they didn't take.

"One paddock of three-year-old ewes recorded 116pc, which is very good for Merinos, but the maidens recorded 67pc, which brought my average down."

If the seasonal conditions held up, offloading excess stock before summer would be "quite the profitable situation".

"But should the winter fail us and summer turn out hot, we will be facing a challenging situation, but that remains to be seen," he said.

On another note, Mr Wilhelm said the association recently received further funding to improve the road surfaces at Broken Hill's new stock-spelling yards.

"Road-based material will be put in to make the ground more stable when it's wet and keep dust levels down," he said.

The yards were built two years ago, near the association's office after the rail yards were sold privately and dismantled.

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