Lamb group’s new boss buoyant about role

Headshot of Shannon Smith
Shannon SmithCountryman
Kojonup sheep producer Hamish Thorn.
Camera IconKojonup sheep producer Hamish Thorn. Credit: Countryman, Bob Garnant

A Great Southern lamb producer will take on WA Meat Marketing Co-operative’s new director-elect position.

Kojonup’s Hamish Thorn will replace retiring foundation director and chairman Dawson Bradford after being appointed to the role at the WAMMCO’s June board meeting.

Dawson and Greta Bradford with their Ultra White prime lambs at "Hillcroft" Cuballing.
Camera IconDawson and Greta Bradford with their Ultra White prime lambs at "Hillcroft" Cuballing. Credit: Supplied

Mr Thorn, who recently toured WAMMCO’s Katanning processing plant, said he was excited to take on the role.

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“WAMMCO’s global trajectory is well ahead of consumer demands and expectations and has continued raising its levels of efficiency and innovation to maximise returns to its members,” he said.

“That makes the co-operative an essential fit with our sheep enterprise. As a director-elect of WAMMCO, I am excited by the prospect of having such a unique insight into how integral meat processing and marketing are to our success.”

Mr Thorn returned to the family farm about eight years ago.

Since then, the passionate sheep farmer has replaced the family’s traditional Merino flock with self-shedding, high-fertility, rapid growth-rate genetics sourced from Kojonup neighbour Craig Heggaton’s Kojak breed, and Ultra Whites from Mr Bradford at Cuballing.

“We are mating 6,500 ewes, including ewe lambs at seven to eight months, that are marking an average of 120 percent lambs,” he said.

Mr Thorn said there was an increasing number of young farmers using science and technology.

“Strong prices alongside WAMMCO’s annual rebate is making the sheep industry an attractive game to be part of,” he said. “But I think information technology is what is hooking younger farmers, by providing the scope to fine-tune breeding programs and boost productivity.

“Linking electronic ID tags with information from the new DEXA carcase scanner, soon to be installed at Katanning, will offer exciting new opportunities to farmers selecting for breeding characteristics such as marbling.”

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