Quintarra Farms wins with the rain

Geoff GareCountryman

Esperance Samm breeder Quintarra Farms returned to the winners ring, taking out its eighth WAMMCO Producer of the Month title since it started in 2004.

The win was for the month of July, with a line of 682 third cross and higher Samm ewe and wether lambs that weighed 23.72kg and returned $107.99 per head.

"These were mainly ewe lambs that would normally have been sold on to other breeders, but reduced demand from producers and improved prices for lamb, plus the commitment of Peter Krupa and Rob Davidson to get the lambs into WAMMCO before the plant shutdown prompted our decision to sell to the co-operative," Todd Quinlivan of Quintarra Farms said.

Bonus rains in March this year favoured all of the Quintarra properties, producing plenty of feed to sustain the ewes in top condition for lambing and allowing the lambs to stay on pastures and stubbles until lamb prices improved.

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The lambs were more than four weeks in the finishing shed topping up on home grown grain before going to Katanning.

Mr Todd said his preference was to deal with the co-operative on a weight, no grade basis and he accepted that his stock would not qualify for any potential rebates as he was partially sharing risk with WAMMCO.

"A problem with limited killing space in WA is that it is often necessary for us to include lighter lambs in consignments to meet booking deadlines," he said.

Improving confidence in the lamb industry and a good season has resulted in a lift in sheep trading in the region, with some producers who had opted to increase their cropping areas possibly ready to reconsider their options again after 2013.

Mr Todd said he was happy with genetic progress within the Quintarra Samm flock, but he was keeping a close eye on standards.

"Wool quality remains an important criteria and we believe our Samms are ideal for this environment," he said.

"One issue with multiple-birth ewes is that they and their lambs can be more vulnerable to foxes and dogs.

"Reduced operating margins on livestock are impacting on staff numbers and it has been difficult to maintain adequate vermin control.

"Vermin, therefore, continue to pose an increasing problem."

The Quinlivan family began replacing Merino rams with Samms on Quintarra Farms at Esperance from 1998.

They started with a good Merino ewe frame and a sound wool base to build a new Samm breeding flock that peaked at 14,000 ewes in 2006.

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