INVESTMENT in the best available prime lamb genetics continues to underwrite the success of stud and commercial breeders Glennis and Wally Mills, Lakeside, Aldersyde, who were the winners of WAMMCO's Producer of the Month title for February 2019.
The Glenwal & Co partnership delivered a winning draft of 120 lambs to WAMMCO for slaughter on February 7, 2019, which averaged 23.68kg and returned $155.45 with a winning 98.3 per cent achieving highest 'sweet spot' for the month.
The February title followed hard on the heels of Glenwal's WAMMCO Producer of the Year title win in the medium size crossbred category for 2018, back in October last year.
The family won its first producer of the month title in October 2005 and another in October 2015.
The winning February 2019 delivery was one of three equal drafts on February 5, 6, and 7 made by Wally in a smaller vehicle when his larger normal transporter was laid up for repairs.
All of the 360 lambs involved were by Poll Dorset rams from Merino-Prime SAMM mothers.
The lambs were shorn in October and went onto lupin paddocks at the end of December.
WAMMCO processing data showed the first draft through the works on February 5 averaged 23.99kg to return $155.46, with a sweet spot percentage of 95.8.
The second consignment of 120 lambs averaged 23.9kg to return $151.93 per head, also with a sweet spot of 95.8pc.
"This is our 62nd year in farming and one of our best for some time," Wally said.
"Our enterprise mix is still 50:50 cropping to livestock with our sheep still closing the gap when crops fail or yield poorly.
"My faith and skills in sheep started with the traditional practice of drift lambing and using South Suffolk sires on maiden ewes for smaller lambs at birth, instilled by my father Hartley and were in action when I took over the business at an early age following his death."
Glennis added his father would have been very proud today of his achievements.
The couple said continued stability in lamb prices and demand, along with the welcome jump in wool values and a good season, their ongoing investment in their sheep enterprise was fully justified.
"The same number of 70-80 bales of wool today is returning about 100pc more than we were getting two or three years ago," Wally said.
At his last Producer of the Month win in October, 2015, when his draft of 241 lambs averaged $113 per head, Wally said WAMMCO was "one of our most underrated assets, that also offered an essential hedge against corporatisation."
"That position has improved even more," he said.
Lakeside Poll Dorset stud continues to supply a long list of loyal WA ram buyers who have gone on to depend on Wally's successful combination of a long-standing use of LambPlan - backed by his eye for selecting top breeding stock.
His most recent genetic purchases from Eastern States studs have included Bunderra Downs, Derrynock, Aberdeen and Braun.
Traditionally he has offered the highest ranked rams to his clients at his annual sale, retaining sires with a lower ranking for his own commercial use.
Lakeside stud ewes continue to be managed by Steven Eales of Elspeth, on Steven's Popanyinning property.
Wally said the current season had been brilliant for feed, making up for a tough one in 2017/18, but he was surprised at the lack of run-off into dams.
"Lakeside and adjacent farms are supplied from an abundance of soaks, but another property of ours in the area is dependent on dams for its water and is running very low," he said.
Coming in a close second in the competition was one of three February deliveries from Phillip, Myles and Kelli O'Meehan, Caralinga Farms, Borden, totalling 1210 White Sufffolk-Merino lambs.
The second placed consignment of 383 lambs was processed at Katanning on February 8 and averaged 25.9kg to return $152.56 per head, with 97.39pc hitting WAMMCO's sweet spot.
The next line of 409 lambs, also processed on February 8, achieved 97.07pc in the sweet spot and averaged 23.4kg to return $151.64 per head.
A final delivery of 418 lambs on February 28 came in at an average per head of 23.09kg to return $151.25 with another high sweet spot of 97.13pc.
Phillip O'Meehan attributed the high scores to his son Myles' expertise in breeding and managing the family's sheep enterprise, using White Suffolk genetics from Greg Hyde at Kohat stud, Ongerup.