ANOTHER of WA's legendary buyers of livestock, WAMMCO's Wayne Radford, retired at the end of 2022 after a 56 year career in the industry.
Mr Radford left John Curtin High School at Fremantle to join the skins team at Wesfarmers before moving to Anchorage Butchers as its Geraldton-based buyer for seven years.
He later became an integral buyer for the former WA Meat Marketing Corporation before joining Peter Krupa at WAMMCO when Mr Krupa was appointed livestock manager for the newly formed WA Meat Marketing Cooperative in 1999.
It was this team under the direction of Mr Krupa, and buyers Mr Radford and Kojonup-based Brian Norsworthy, with the strong support of early CEO Des Griffiths and the WAMMCO directors under then chairman Dawson Bradford, who introduced the WAMMCO forward contracts that transformed the WA lamb industry.
"Lamb contract prices of $3 per kg in December 2001 and $3.40/kg in 2002 attracted bigger producers with regular numbers and also boosted producer demand for better genetics and their interest in lotfeeding," Mr Radford said.
"The new system helped lamb producers to invest in better stock and to survive some very dry seasons, and also brought stock firm specialists like Elders, Wongan Hills representative Jeff Brennan into the equation."
Mr Radford said 39 year-old producer Bryce McNamara based at Wongan Hills was one of several elite lamb producers in WA who had formed a buyer/agent partnership that was developing quickly as a feedlot success story based on advice from Mr Brennan, on genetics, feeding and markets from WAMMCO's producer relations manager Rob Davidson, himself and the team at WAMMCO.
"Bryce has just harvested a 3.3 tonne per hectare wheat crop that matched last season and yielded well above his 10 year average of 1.8 tonnes/ha," Mr Radford said.
"He returned after a break of about 20 years, to serious feedlotting in 2019 and is already in the elite category with his new sights set on 30,000 lambs per season using a genetic mix of Merinos and White Suffolks.
"Lamb will be the most vital component of his future business at the cusp of the northern Wheatbelt."
"A feature of his feeding/marketing systems, is that he has already invited more than 20 local sheep producers to take advantage of his investment by breeding lambs for sale of their lambs through his system.
"Bryce is one of an increasing number of WAMMCO producers who continue to expand their quality lamb production as a major feature of their farm business, while also creating new opportunities for others.
"Around 90 per cent of WAMMCO's lambs now are going over the scales in a further change away from auctions and our producers will continue to lead that trend."
Mr Radford said WAMMCO's newly appointed livestock manager Mike Churnick was adapting quickly to his challenging new State role - as well as taking responsibility for his (Wayne's) former sales territory.
Along with farwelling Mr Radford last month the co-operative also welcomed well-known buyer, Sean Cusasck as buyer for the southern region from a home base in Albany, and he will continue to work with southern buyer Darren Robertson who had recently joined the livestock team at Nutrien Ag Solutions.
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