Prime lamb and wool producers will be able to inspect the superior carcass traits of White Suffolk cross sucker lambs on a Merino-White Suffolk dam at the Henty Machinery Field Days this year.
Riverina sheep producers John and Julie Wiesner, Glengarry Stud, Walla Walla, and Murray Long, Pendarra Stud, Ardlethan, will represent the Australian White Suffolk Association at the field days on September 19-21.
Mrs Wiesner said the display would have a commercial focus to highlight the commercial attributes of the breed.
“We will take over May-June drop sucker lambs, a Merino-White Suffolk cross ewe with White Suffolk cross twins, and a maiden White Suffolk ewe with triplets to show sheep producers what can be achieved by using White Suffolk rams,’’ she said.
There will also be 2016-drop White Suffolk flock rams on display.
“When we first started going to Henty over 20 years ago, producers were either into Merinos or first-cross ewes but now prime lambs have become an important cash flow generator in mixed enterprises,’’ Mrs Wiesner said.
“Having live lambs on the ground is a key profit driver and the White Suffolk is known for lambing ease and low birthweight.
“The breed also offers flexibility in early maturing and high growth rates for the sucker market, or finishing for the heavy export market.’’
The Wiesners sold April-May drop White Suffolk-cross sucker lambs for an average of $169.90 (including skins) over the hooks to Junee abattoir for the supermarket trade on July 31.
The lambs were all under four months of age and dressed at an average of 25.54kg.
“We had 57 lambs from the drop too heavy to go over the grid so they were sold at Corowa for $156, with the heaviest lamb weighing 72kg (liveweight),’’ Mrs Wiesner said.
The couple run 280 stud White Suffolk ewes, 400 commercial ewes and sell 150 flock rams a year into southern NSW by private treaty.
The stud met with success at the recent Adelaide Royal Show, exhibiting the winning ram under 18 months in a strong line-up of 32 entries.
Weighing 133.5kg, the ram scanned at 9mm fat depth and with an eye muscle depth of 50mm.
New client Clinton Huxtable, Duenclin stud, Karoonda, SA, paid $8500 for the ram at the 2017 Adelaide Royal Elite Stud Sheep Sale.
Glengarry also exhibited the champion White Suffolk ewe, a 96kg, June 2016 drop ewe sired by high indexing ram, Farrer 188, and boasting a Carcase Plus Index of 199.5.
“Our commercial ewes marked 152 per cent lambs while the stud ewes marked 151 per cent this year,’’ Mrs Wiesner said.
“We aim to have all ewes rear at least their bodyweight, with a young ewe with triplets capable of weaning up to 140kg.’’
The Wiesners have been maternal scoring ewes for temperament post-lambing for more than 20 years.
“We want a ewe that is a good mother so she will defend her lambs from predators, and this is important in getting lambs through to weaning,’’ Mrs Wiesner said.
Commercial ewes are joined to lamb in April/May and supply the early sucker market before the grain harvest.
Stud ewes lamb in June/July, with single and multiple bearing ewes running together.
Mrs Wiesner said a portion of the stud rams were genomically tested each year for meat eating quality.
“Genomics is another selection tool – we always have to keep meat eating quality in our minds as we are ultimately selling meat,’’ she said.
“We are involved with Super Whites, a White Suffolk breeding group focused on meat eating quality and sharing genetic linkages to increase breeding value accuracies.
“We must continue to move forward with scientific information while keeping in mind the structural correctness of the animal.’’