Keeping a firm course with their Merino/SAMM lamb enterprise has led the Kowald family's Capemont Farms at Katanning to their second WAMMCO Producer of the Month title for December 2013.
"One of the main differences of the year was the 'cracker' season with a nice early break and green feed through to October, making lamb production easy," Sheldon Kowald said.
"Another was that instead of waiting until the lambs were ready and risking booking problems, I took Rob Davidson's advice and made our bookings for WAMMCO space much earlier."
Capemont's winning draft of 108 lambs was processed at Katanning on December 18, 2013 and weighed an average of 23.34 kg to return $95.04 including skin, with individual animals bringing up to $115.72.
Their first Producer of the Month title was in January 2011 and they have also maintained a keen, successful interest in WAMMCO's annual State Lamb competitions.
Sheldon runs the Kowald family's sheep enterprise in partnership with brother Trent and father Barry, keeping a strong Merino component based on Willemenup rams .
"We have always regarded Merinos as good money makers if you look after them, and better wool prices have been another bonus this season," he said.
About 850 Merino ewes, culled for wool production from a flock of 3,600, are mated to Rockdale SAMM rams.
The crossbred lamb breeding venture continues to achieve 100 percent lambing. Sheldon no longer scans for twins but is careful to feed and watch his ewes to maintain them in peak condition, supplementing their diet with self feeders right through lambing.
Capemont welcomed WAMMCO's 40 cents per kg rebate in 2013.
"We were disappointed to see the WAMMCO Select incentives go, but can see that rebates of this order will boost confidence if they can be maintained."
Sheldon said the rams were already out for next season's sheep production and he was again aiming to deliver slightly lighter crossbred lambs in the 22-24 kg weight grade, as preferred by WAMMCO.
No change was planned to Capemont Farms' enterprise mix of 50 percent canola and barley cropping and 50 percent Merino/crossbred lamb production.