Lamb finishers have been patiently waiting for the first draft of new season store lambs, but that wait, at least, is now over.
As is tradition, the first decent offering to appear, did so at Stortford Lodge and were provided by annual sellers Reece and Debbie Whitelock from Te Aute. These lambs always kick-off the season in style and nearly 2000 of their early August-born Southdown-cross lambs were drafted off their five-year-old mothers first thing on Wednesday morning, and made the pilgrimage to Hastings.
According to Reece, this is a scheme that works well within the Whitelocks’ farming system between their Te Aute and Te Pohue farms.
“Our two farms have very different climates and we offload these lambs (and their mothers which will be sold at Stortford Lodge in a few weeks’ time) early to make way for the lambs coming down from Maunganui Station in Te Pohue,” he said.
“We have sent in most of the early lambs from Waikareao (Te Aute), though there are still a few smaller ones at home.”
Drought conditions at tupping meant that the ewes scanned more singles this year but, as survival rates were very good, that simply gave the Whitelocks more weight in the pens. That was notable especially on the top cut, which was 35kg compared to 31kg last year.
“We use Southdown rams mainly from Stephen Baker at Te Mara Southdown Stud, as they produce fantastic lambs that grow out well,” he said.
And a regular buyer from Taupo would second that, coming back for the third year in a row to battle with local and Manawatu buyers to take them home.
Crops already have the lamb’s name on them, and he again was successful on several lines offered. It was not an easy-won battle though and the top mixed-sex were pushed to $141 with subsequent lines ranging from $96 to $127.