WAMMCO in the black

Kate MatthewsCountryman
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Grower co-operative WAMMCO has bounced back.

The co-op has posted a $5.926 million profit for 2010-2011 after a previous loss of $2.912 million and set a new record for member livestock payouts.

The positive result follows last year's dry winter when producers had to sell stock and lambing percentages fell.

A report, sent to growers last week ahead of the annual general meeting, said supply was back to reasonable processing levels, market share continued to be strong with the best returns for members in the co-op's history.

A pre-tax profit before pool bonus of $3.014 million was posted and a $550,000 pool bonus will be distributed to 593 members for 167,296 qualifying lambs.

The pool bonus was achieved on a $124 million turnover, up from $87 million in 2009-10.

WAMMCO said the increase in turnover was due to an improvement in numbers available for sale and processing as well as strong market prices which buffered and helped offset the strong Australian dollar.

Producers received an average of $117.06 for lambs, up from $98.89 the previous year, and weights increased to 21.82kg from 21.45kg.

Five years ago, turnover was $91 million and producers were paid an average of $2.94/kg for lamb.

WAMMCO said sheep numbers were a big concern and rebuilding over the next few seasons was needed to avert a "major restructure" of the processing industry.

Good news was the past winter rain which provided the right start to the new season and lambing percentages were up.

To help consolidate its position, WAMMCO purchased Southern Meats processing in Goulburn, New South Wales, which would offer the strong benefits of having an east coast processing option.

A proposal to bring lambs in from the east to process locally is on hold.

The AGM will be held at the Wave Rock Hotel, Hyden, on October 26 at 3pm.

New chief executive Scott Weir and marketing manager Damien Giumelli will report on global marketing conditions and former chief executive Coll MacRury, who now heads the Goulburn facility, will talk about potential to boost co-operative returns.

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