White Suffolks profitable in low input regime
May 23, 2014
South Australian commercial producers Gary and Wendy Kilsby use White Suffolk genetics to generate cash flow within their wool and prime lamb enterprise.
They farm the 770ha property, “Lowan”, at Kalangadoo, north of Mt Gambier, in a 700mm rainfall zone.
Mr and Mrs Kilsby run 1800 Dohne-Corriedale cross ewes, with one-third joined to Corriedale rams as replacements and two-thirds to White Suffolk rams to produce prime lambs for the trade.
They use organic fertilisers on their dryland pastures and aim to reduce costs.
“I started buying White Suffolk rams about eight years ago as they answered all my questions,’’ Gary said.
“They were a good fit with my Corriedale ewes and the lambs mature quickly.
“I have never chased big framed rams, preferring a more feed efficient sheep.
“They seem to have more carcass yield and are leaner than other prime lamb breeds, making it better for the processor.
“I usually sell my May-drop lambs in November at 45-50kg liveweight in condition score three through the Mt Gambier market.
“Last year, we marked 105 per cent (White Suffolk cross) lambs over all ewes, and the entire drop averaged $107.
“We run a low input operation – we don’t supplementary feed but the White Suffolk cross lambs finish well and are profitable.
“Sheep have been kind to us in the last few years – wool makes up one third of our gross proceeds and prime lambs the balance in our sheep enterprise.
“I can turn the White Suffolk cross lambs off quickly whereas I usually have to shear the wool wethers and sell them later in the year.’’