THE Lynch family, Hyden, has taken out the 2017/18 WAMMCO Producer of the Year competition.
The award replaced the State Prime Lamb Carcase Competition and was introduced to enable more WAMMCO suppliers to be eligible for recognition.
The new criteria has been used since July 2016, to determine WAMMCO’s Producer of the Month awards.
Eligible entries were automatically assessed from members who supply either a minimum of 250 crossbred or Merino lambs to the co-operative each financial year.
Entries received a score out of 100, with 80 per cent of the points assigned to the percentage of defect-free carcases in the prime 18.1-28 kilogram, fat score 2-3 range.
The remaining 20pc is on the timing and volume of shipments with more points for larger consignments delivered outside the traditional spring flush.
WAMMCO supply development manager Rob Davidson said members were no longer required to enter their lambs for either the State or monthly awards and nomination fees no longer applied, because eligible lambs were automatically assessed at the point of slaughter.
Mr Davidson said the overall drop of lambs from each eligible shareholder were assessed and not individual consignments as happened in the past.
“We are really looking to drive efficiencies through this new format,” Mr Davidson said.
“That means efficiencies through supply, the plant and marketing of the product.
“A carcase with a dressed weight of 18-28kg with a fat score of 2 or 3 is the ideal carcase we are looking for as a processor.
“It is also important that the carcase is defect free, that means not overfat, free of ovis, pleurisy, grass seeds, arthritis and dog bites.”
Mr Davidson said it was critical from a processor point of view to have lambs to process all year round, hence the allocation of 20pc of points for lamb supply, with these points weighted to lambs delivered outside the traditional spring flush period.
There were five categories in total for this year’s competition, three crossbred classes and two Merino classes.
The crossbred classes were for small (250-999), medium (1000-2199) and large (2200 plus) lines of lambs, while the Merino category was for small (250-749) and large lines (750 plus) only.
The overall winners of the Judy Cameron Memorial Award for Producer of the Year were Tom and Donna Lynch, PD Lynch & Co, Hyden.
They took first place in the large crossbred lamb supplier category with 3533 lambs that gained 86.93 points.
The Lynches run 5000 ewes comprising of a mix of Prime SAMM and Merinos.
The flock is made up of 3000 Prime SAMM ewes and 2000 Merino ewes and the Lynches have recently started to use first cross SAMM ewes within their prime lamb operation.
Their bloodlines are a mix of KD Genetics, which is where they first started to buy Poll Dorset rams and Tiara/Uralla for some of the Prime SAMMs.
The Lynches use a mix of Poll Dorset and Prime SAMM genetics to produce heavyweight lambs.
Ms Lynch said in a normal season their lambs were run on stubbles but they have the ability to feedlot using their own grain if the season isn’t productive.
They lamb in July and August onto green feed, to maximise lamb survival.
“The first draft of lambs are ready to go in December and we market to WAMMCO at a liveweight of 50 kilos through to June,” Ms Lynch said.
Finishing in second place to the Lynches was last year’s inaugural Producer of the Year winner, the Quartermaine family, Highbury.
This year they supplied 3332 lambs that gained 82.63 points, while in third place was G & W Thorn, Kojonup, with 2217 lambs that totalled 82.11 points.
The Wyatt family, ED & JA Wyatt, Pingaring, scored a back-to-back win in the Merino small supplier category.
The Wyatts supplied 391 Merino lambs to WAMMCO and finished on 83.52 points.
Evan Wyatt said the lambs were run on a similar program to the winning lines the year before but were a bit harder to get to weight given the late start to the season this year.
“They went onto a feedlot with ad lib barley and lupins and as much hay as they wanted,” Mr Wyatt said.
“They then have as much grain as they want once we have trained them onto it and the process seems to be working for us which is pleasing.”
The Wyatts have been steadily building their ewe numbers and this year 1520 Merino lambs were dropped in June out of 1500 ewes.
“We are looking to mate 1650 ewes next year and we will try and increase by 150 head each year with numbers taking a natural rise as we won’t cull the hoggets too hard,” Mr Wyatt said.
“We are running on Leovale bloodlines and bought all Polls from the stud this year.
“Our lambs are run through to March when we shear them and then sell them after that.
“This year they cut an average of 3.5kg of 16.8 micron wool which we were pretty happy with.
“Our wool clip averaged 1300c/kg greasy so the Merino lambs are pretty valuable animals at the moment.”
Mr Wyatt also thanked the WAMMCO team and said the co-operative was doing a good job for its producer members.
Finishing in second place were Craig and Anna-Lisa Newman, Karradale Trading, Varley, who supplied 569 lambs that accrued points of 81.67.
BR West & Co, Lake King, finished in third place with 425 lambs gaining 79.79 points.
In the large Merino supplier category it was Welke Bros, Cascade, that finished on top with 1816 lambs supplied and a score of 88.07.
Scott Welke, who also runs the Westwood Merino stud, said the lambs were dropped in late April/early May.
“Generally we wean earlier rather than late, with weaned lambs coming off in July and they are shorn by the end of August,” Mr Welke said.
“The paddocks that the weaned lambs go onto are set up for that purpose in February and March with vetch planted on the mallee country and serradella on the lighter country.
“The aim of this is to take advantage of summer rains, which are becoming more common in the Esperance region.
“If we get that summer rain and a good start to the season this pasture system is enough to get lambs up so we can send off a draft in October.
“What is left is run on stubbles over summer and the majority of what is remaining are sent off in January-February.
“If there are any still around after that, we have a small feedlot that we can grain feed them in to get to the desired weight if necessary.”
Mr Welke said through the Westwood stud he was working on producing a true dual purpose Merino.
“The use of ASBVs is important to our program, we select for positive fats and eye muscle area, with the focus on producing a good balanced sheep,” he said.
“Two of our stud clients, Lortleaze Farms, Cascade and W & C Walter, Esperance, also finished in the top 10.
“They run a similar system to ours and we are closely aligned in terms of farm enterprises and soil types, so it is good to see the work we are doing within the stud vindicated with these results.
“We try and keep things simple and are just prepared to use moisture events when they happen in the late summer, early autumn to get green feed away to either get animals off to a great start or to finish the 12-month-old ones.”
Mr Welke said for all lambs delivered to WAMMCO he averaged $148 a head.
Finishing in second place in this category was the Ietto family, Shalimah, Grass Patch, with 875 lambs that scored 79.77 points, while Jensen Holdings, Pingaring, were third with 856 Merino lambs that gained 77.19 points.
Competition was tight in the small crossbred supplier category with less than a point separating first and third place.
Finishing on top in this category was Wayne and Jo Tomlinson, Tomlinson Agricultural, Kalgan.
The Tomlinsons supplied 918 lambs that scored 82.94 points.
Mr Tomlinson said they kept things pretty simple within their sheep operation with the winning lambs fed on silage and grain.
“We lamb from April to July and had a tough summer and so we put the lambs onto a good kikuyu paddock and supplemented them with silage and grain and it worked a treat and that is probably why they have processed so well,” Mr Tomlinson said.
“We did have quite a few lighter lambs given the season but they didn’t take long to put on weight under this system which was pleasing.”
The Tomlinsons used to run the Golden Park Poll Dorset stud and use Golden Park blood Poll Dorset rams over Merino ewes.
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They are in the process of cutting back sheep numbers, planning to run 1000 ewes so they can boost cattle numbers to fit in with future farm management strategies.
In second place in this category was BW & DA Barrows, Borden, who supplied 985 lambs that accrued 82.58 points, while in third place on 82.15 points was Emcosh Grazing, Gnowangerup, which supplied 410 lambs.
In the medium crossbred lamb supplier it was Aldersyde producers Wally and Glennis Mills, Glenwal & Co, who took first place.
They supplied 2040 lambs that gained points of 84.75.
The Mills’ run 2000 ewes and use Poll Dorset rams from their own Lakeside Poll Dorset stud over them.
Mr Mills said he had run and carted crossbred lambs every year of his farming life.
“We have always produced crossbred lambs as far back as I can remember,” Mr Mills said.
“And we have been supplying WAMMCO ever since it started.”
Mr Mills said once his lambs hit 50kg and above they are drafted off and sent to WAMMCO.
“We cart 240 each time,” he said.
“It is a bit of a shock to win this category but it recognises what we are doing.
“I enjoy producing prime lambs, and I get a lot of satisfaction out of seeing the truck head out the gate with a good load of lambs on it.”
In another close finish, in second place on 84.07 points was JD & TC Alexander, Beverley, who supplied 1534 lambs that gained 84.07 points, while in third was Yleena Farm, Dowerin, with 1529 lambs that finished on 84.01 points.
Mr Davidson also acknowledged the major sponsors to the Producer of the Year, including Zoetis, Elanco Animal Health and Farm Weekly.