People from as far afield as Aramac and Gatton travelled to Cunnamulla last Friday to find out more about the Australian White meat sheep breed making its presence felt.
As well as hearing from the breed founder, Graham Gilmore, and the man who has unearthed startling discoveries about the properties of their meat, JCU veterinary science lecturer, Aduli Malau, Longreach producer Cam Lindsay was a key speaker.
Cam told the audience of 40 he was reasonably confident the breed was “ticking all the boxes” for his operation.
As well as having lambs putting on 450 grams a day after last winter’s unusual rain event, he was going through organic status accreditation.
“We have a premium product in a premium market, and I was sick of being a price taker,” he said.
He followed an address from Graham Gilmore, who had travelled up from his base at Oberon in NSW.
He told the group that starting with a composite breed and then shutting it down hadn’t been done anywhere else in the world.
It’s resulted in clients from most Australian states as well as from Fiji, China, Costa Rica, and Mongolia, where lambs are surviving the snow and blizzards of winter better than indigenous sheep breeds.
There was a spirited conversation about the price of lamb being received at present, covering the closure of two JBS plants.
MLA’s coordinator of Sheep R&D, Richard Apps said he found it hard to imagine them being shut if JBS was making money.
He told the audience that lamb was a niche product, which was why it had to be very good quality.
“The average person in the US eats more garlic than they do lamb,” he said.
Talking about market trends, Arcadian Organics’ Peter Gall said no-one knew the lamb market was going to be so short this year.
“I don’t know when it’s going to end,” he said. “How will people breed up numbers when every animal has $7.50/kg on them.”
Peter runs Dorper and Australian White sheep on his Jondaryan property.
He thought Cunnamulla producers were ideally placed to fill gaps in the market because their cycle was inverse to southern markets.
Grazier Mike Moody is running Merinos on his Cunnamulla block but is looking at putting up exclusion fencing on his mulga block further north and running organic sheep for diversity.
He said he was pretty excited by what he’d heard at the open day.
Likewise, Aramac’s Ashley Zischke has just bought five Australian White rams and 500 ewes in lamb and is looking forward to getting the lambs on the ground.