WAMMCO Producer of the Month winner for November 2021, Wayde Robertson, Yalup, Boyup Brook, said investing in the latest no wool and high fertility sheep breeds and spending a few extra dollars on sheep feeding and management systems, would improve profit and put them well ahead over the next 15 to 20 years.
After achieving second and third placings over the past two years, Mr Robertson, his wife Emma and their three year-old son Henry and Wayde's parents Grant and Helen Robertson, won WAMMCO's Producer of the Month award with a line of 405 Poll Dorset-White Suffolk-Merino crossbred lambs that were processed at Katanning on November 17 to average 21.3kg dressed weight (DWT) returning $166.27 per head.
Their WAMMCO Sweet Spot score was an impressive 98.52 per cent.
The Robertson family's total delivery to the co-ooperative for November was 1224 lambs that averaged 21.83kg (DWT) for a return of $170.48 per lamb with a sweet spot percentage of 91.91pc.
A further delivery of 1792 ewe mutton to the co-operative weighed an average of 29.06kg (DWT) and also achieved $170.50 per head.
Mr Robertson, a graduate of WACOA Denmark and Muresk Institute of Agriculture, believes Boyup Brook is a fantastic area to take advantage of what appears to be a sustained future demand for both lamb and sheep meats.
He said local sheep meat returns were outstripping those for crops and wool production, prompting an increase in grower interest in wool shedding, higher fertility, faster growing sheep.
Mr Robertson has no immediate plans to vary his 55pc cropping/45pc sheep producing enterprise which changed from a 70:30 ratio in favour of cropping about three years ago.
During this period, the Robertsons developed a more efficient feeding system for their stock by transferring feed ingredients by auger from three silos to a new mixing shed for blending, and the addition of health and mineral components which is then delivered to a chaser bin.
The new feeding system, which uses their own grain, has become integral to the feedlotting arrangements for both crossbred and Merino lambs by maximising their value.
Mr Robertson said the system was valuable in preparing Merino wether lambs for sale to WAMMCO, which would previously have been sold to the live export industry.
He intends to retain a 6000-strong Merino self-replacing ewe flock, 3000 of which are mated to Darren Chapman's Beaufort Vale rams and 3000 to Poll Dorset and White Suffolk rams, both supplied by Max White's Brimfield studs.
Mr Robertson recently made an investment in the wool-shedding SheepMaster breed via Phil Corker and Marty Bleechmore's newly established Blackwood SheepMaster stud, Boyup Brook.
He purchased 100 mated SheepMaster ewes earlier this year and a further 60 unmated ewes and plans to mate 220 SheepMaster ewes in the new season.
The aim is to reach 500 breeding ewes in the next few years.
All 54 of the SheepMaster wether lambs dropped this year were sent to WAMMCO.
Forty of them aged between 18 and 20 weeks averaged 23.7kg DWT per head and the final 14 on November 26 aged between 25-27 weeks averaged 22.8kg DWT.
"A 100pc clearance of lambs to WAMMCO before summer was what we hoped the breed would enable us to achieve and it did," Mr Robertson said.
Blackwood SheepMaster principal Phil Corker said the new stud was looking forward to working with the Robertson family as they followed a 20-year plan for their future.
"After doing the maths and having the courage to trial the concept of farming without wool, we are confident the family will be very successful, and await feedback," Mr Corker said.
Grant Robertson moved from Wagerup near Waroona to buy the original Yalup property in 1977.
The family laments the decline of the wool industry but compliments Western Australian producers for continuing to advance many aspects of Merino genetics.
A few years ago they took a role in restoring farmland left by the timber plantation industry by purchasing a 400 hectare former plantation block that had been harvested, but not cleared.
Grazing the area with sheep has allowed the tree stumps to rot away, offering a further opportunity for increased future returns.
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