Quality mothers and sires assured the Morrison family's first-cross ewes were keenly sought after in January Forbes sale.
FETCHING $292 a head for 2100 first-cross ewes at the recent Forbes 39th annual first-cross special store sale was a price worth celebrating by the Morrison family, “Hillcrest”, Forbes.
The price was well above the average $250 quoted by agents for the “most joinable ewe lambs” sold on the day.
Southern lamb producers seek the Morrisons’ drafts annually and family principals, Trevor and son Chris, say their sale success comes from the even line base of quality 21-micron ewes sourced from Pooginook stud, Jerilderie.
“We have been able to select 800-plus classed-out maidens in each of the past four years,” Chris said.
“They are run until six-year-olds and all are joined to Glamis Border Leicester rams for the first-cross market.”
Wethers from the March-April lambing are marketed either through Forbes saleyards or over the hooks through Thomas Foods International, Tamworth, usually in the Christmas trade period.
Mr Morrison said ewes were joined for up to eight weeks from October 1 and scanned in January.
“We gain an overall result of 90 per cent in lamb and after we wet and dry, the dry ewes are rejoined.”
In February age groups are split into 250 head mobs for lambing on improved pasture of mainly lucerne in 20 paddocks within the 4050 hectare aggregation of which up to 2500ha is cropped to winter cereals and canola.
The Morrisons did split singles and twinners but stopped as Chris said they had still found a lot of mis-mothering, so have stayed with keeping them all together.
“The result of the rejoin last year was 230 ewes lambed in June-July and for the first time this year we shore them in November and sold them at six to seven months fetching $242 a head.”
Mr Morrison said he had had feedback from southern (mainly Victorian) buyers seeking mulesed sheep.
“We will be marking in May and I am contemplating mulesing some.
“There is a call for it and I guess we have to think about giving our customers what they want, so it’s an option.”