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WAMMCO Producer of the Year: Highbury’s Quartermaine family win prestigious lamb competition

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Bob GarnantCountryman
PRODUCER OF THE YEAR: WAMMCO chairman Craig Heggaton, Zoetis senior sales agent Ben Fletcher, overall award winner Paul Quartermaine, of Highbury, WAMMCO chief executive Coll MacRury and WAMMCO marketing manager Damien Giumelli.
Camera IconPRODUCER OF THE YEAR: WAMMCO chairman Craig Heggaton, Zoetis senior sales agent Ben Fletcher, overall award winner Paul Quartermaine, of Highbury, WAMMCO chief executive Coll MacRury and WAMMCO marketing manager Damien Giumelli. Credit: Bob Garnant/Countryman

Highbury lamb producers Paul and Colleen Quartermaine were thrilled to be named the WA Meat Marketing Co-operative Producers of the Year for 2022-23, their first win since the inaugural award ceremony in 2016-17.

Highbury prime lamb producers Colleen and Paul  Quartermaine were named WAMMCO's producers of the year at an awards event that celebrated elite suppliers to the co-operative.
Camera IconHighbury prime lamb producers Colleen and Paul Quartermaine were named WAMMCO's producers of the year at an awards event that celebrated elite suppliers to the co-operative. Credit: Bob Garnant/Countryman

The couple, who supplied 3790 crossbred lambs that averaged 21.9 kg with the consignment scoring 84.77 points put of a possible 100, took out the annual competition and received recognition at an awards function on October 25 in Katanning.

Their first cross lamb enterprise involves Poll Dorset rams sourced from the Eales family’s Elspeth stud in Popanyinning, which are put over a selection of Poll Merino ewes bred from Poll Merino rams sourced from the Thompson family’s Hill Padua stud in Three Springs.

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Mr Quartermaine said the combination of the two bloodlines, derived from a partial of their 6500-head breeding flock, had performed exceptionally well and the repeat win represented the quality and consistency that was aimed for.

“This second-time-around win gives us an indication that consistency is the name of the game,” he said.

“These crossbred lambs get a good start after they drop from May to June with usually plenty of green feed around.

“We select our breeding stock for high growth and fertility using a stringent visual selection process and working off a balanced set of sheep breeding value figures.”

The Quartermaines use an auto-drafter to help weighing and draft lambs to manage the desired weight range.

Mr Quartermaine said the prize money of $5000 would be put to good use across the farm.

WAMMCO marketing manager Damien Giumelli said entry into the Producer of the Year competition, now in its seventh year, had a minimum turn-off requirement of 250 lambs — either Merino or crossbred with automatic entry to all the co-operative’s members.

“During the 2022-23 financial year, we evaluated 774,000 lambs, representing 96 per cent of the throughput at the Katanning plant, an increase of 66,560 lambs on the previous year,” he said.

“It was designed to award elite growers.”

The competition included five categories including small, medium and large with two of those broken up into crossbred or Merino lambs.

“Producers are required to deliver defect-free carcases weighing from 18 to 28kg with a fat score between two and three all year round,” Mr Giumelli said.

“That range of carcase allows WAMMCO to target the best markets around the world.

“The Middle Eastern market prefers a lighter style carcase and they certainly don’t want fat, and this allows WAMMCO to do whole boning cuts that aren’t too heavy.”

At the other end of the scale, Mr Giumelli said weights up to 28kg were designated for the North American market which was chasing heavier-style lambs with peak weights.

He said the competition scored the lambs out of a possible 100 points, with 80 per cent assigned to carcase specification and the balance of a possible 20 points to numbers delivered with higher points given for deliveries outside the spring flush.

“Our top winners are delivering beautiful lines of well-muscled lambs with even carcases throughout the year,” Mr Giumelli said.

The Quartermaines placed first in the crossbred category for large supplier and the other four first-place category winners were GJ & HA Cussons of Kojonup (Merino — small supplier), Lortleaze Farms of Cascade (Merino — large supplier), CJ & BA Lang of Wickepin (crossbred — small supplier) and Jokar Farming Co of Broomehill (crossbred — medium supplier).

WAMMCO chairman Craig Heggaton congratulated the Quartermaines on their win.

All other first place category winners took home a $1000 prize.

WAMMCO PRODUCER OF THE YEAR AWARDS

PRODUCER OF THE YEAR: P&C Quartermaine (Highbury)

MERINO - SMALL SUPPLIER

First: GJ & HA Cussons (Kojonup), Second: Tallerack Farming (Esperance). Third: BJ & CC Lewis (Esperance)

MERINO - LARGE SUPPLIER

First: Lortleaze Farms (Cascade), Second: SJ & N Thompson (Newdegate), Tird: R Dunwell & Son (Yearling)

CROSSBRED - SMALL SUPPLIER:

First: CJ & BA Lang (Wickepin), Second: Aidinville Farm (Ongerup), Third: Kuloomba Farming (Esperance)

CROSSBRED - MEDIUM SUPPLIER:

First: Jokar Farming Co (Broomehill), Second: RJ McLean & Co (Lake Biddy), Third: JD & TC Alexander (Beverley)

CROSSBRED - LARGE SUPPLIER:

First: P&C Quartermaine (Highbury), Second: SD & MT Lucchesi (Kulin), Third: FW McKee & EI White (Fitzgerald)

WAMMCO independent director Mark Lucas congratulated Kojonup lamb producers Hillary and Graeme Cussons on their first place award in the small Merino category with Zoetis senior sales agent Ben Fletcher representing the sponsor of the prize.
Camera IconWAMMCO independent director Mark Lucas congratulated Kojonup lamb producers Hillary and Graeme Cussons on their first place award in the small Merino category with Zoetis senior sales agent Ben Fletcher representing the sponsor of the prize. Credit: Bob Garnant/Countryman
WAMMCO director Brad Ispen congratulated Wickepin lamb producer Gary Lang for his first place finish in the small crossbred lamb category, with Zoetis senior sales agent Ben Fletcher representing the sponsor of the prize.
Camera IconWAMMCO director Brad Ispen congratulated Wickepin lamb producer Gary Lang for his first place finish in the small crossbred lamb category, with Zoetis senior sales agent Ben Fletcher representing the sponsor of the prize. Credit: Bob Garnant/Countryman
WAMMCO chairman Craig Heggaton congratulated Broomehill lamb producer Todd Green on his first place award in the medium crossbred category with Zoetis senior sales agent Ben Fletcher representing the sponsor of the prize.
Camera IconWAMMCO chairman Craig Heggaton congratulated Broomehill lamb producer Todd Green on his first place award in the medium crossbred category with Zoetis senior sales agent Ben Fletcher representing the sponsor of the prize. Credit: Bob Garnant/Countryman
Zoetis senior sales agent Ben Fletcher and Westcoast Rural livestock Hyden agent Lincon Gangell with first place winner in the large Merino category Simon Roberts, of Lortleaze Farms in Cascade, and WAMMCO director Bill O'Keefe.
Camera IconZoetis senior sales agent Ben Fletcher and Westcoast Rural livestock Hyden agent Lincon Gangell with first place winner in the large Merino category Simon Roberts, of Lortleaze Farms in Cascade, and WAMMCO director Bill O'Keefe. Credit: Bob Garnant/Countryman
Esperance lamb producers Malcolm and Ruth Leske, of Tallerack Farming, were congratulated by WAMMCO International marketing manager Damien Giumelli for their second place award in the small Merino category.
Camera IconEsperance lamb producers Malcolm and Ruth Leske, of Tallerack Farming, were congratulated by WAMMCO International marketing manager Damien Giumelli for their second place award in the small Merino category. Credit: Bob Garnant/Countryman
Fitzgerald lamb producers Fraser and Francis McKee,  who trade as FW McKee and EI White, were third place winners in the large crossbred category, and were congratulated by WAMMCO chief executive officer Coll MacRury.
Camera IconFitzgerald lamb producers Fraser and Francis McKee, who trade as FW McKee and EI White, were third place winners in the large crossbred category, and were congratulated by WAMMCO chief executive officer Coll MacRury. Credit: Bob Garnant/Countryman

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