Good doing ability is the key trait Cairnbrae co-owner Richard Krieg likes about the White Suffolk-Merino he produces.
Richard, his wife Janelle, and his parents Wayne and Lyn own 750 hectares of land east of Minlaton, with another 400ha leased by Richard in the area.
Richard said the White Suffolk-Merino cross responds well to good feed and does not go to wool when the season starts to dry off, unlike other breeds.
“They’re a good all-rounder,” he said.
The Kriegs breed the cross for meat and aims to have the lambs sold before harvest, to avoid shearing or holding onto them over summer which literally “eats into profits”.
“Our aim is to get the weight on them as quick as we can – the quicker lambs put on weight, the quicker I can turn them over,” Richard said.
They mate up to 1000 ewes a year, using about 30 White Suffolk rams.
Ewes are kept on good dry feed, in particular hay, before joining to ensure they are in good condition to achieve high lambing percentages.
Rams are put in with the ewes in November and remain until all ewes are pregnant, but the Kriegs do not scan.
“We can just pick if they are pregnant; we can see if the ewe is starting to form an udder,” Richard said.
Once pregnant, ewes are separated on to better feed.
Pregnant ewes are fed barley from March to keep energy levels up during lambing.
“Generally we get good green feed, but the past few years have been tough,” Richard said. “As such, we have kept some grain for supplementary feeding.”
Richard said the season was going well so far.
“We have water laying in paddocks we have not had in a while,” he said.
Lambs stay with their mothers until they are sold.
A good lamb will be sold at five months or once they reach at least 50 kilograms liveweight, through Wardle Co Yorke Peninsula stock agent Julian Burke.
Most end up in Woolworths supermarkets.
Recently the lambs were making $6.30/kglwt or about $155 a head.