Hicks family impressed by second-cross lambs

Second-cross lambs impress Wallendbeen producers

Sheep
Ros Hicks, her daughter Joanna holding Teddy the dog and stationhand, Emma King, Woodlands, Wallendbeen, with Aug/Sep 2018 drop, second cross lambs averaging 94.8 kilograms sent to Goulburn on Tuesday. Photo: Rachael Webb

Ros Hicks, her daughter Joanna holding Teddy the dog and stationhand, Emma King, Woodlands, Wallendbeen, with Aug/Sep 2018 drop, second cross lambs averaging 94.8 kilograms sent to Goulburn on Tuesday. Photo: Rachael Webb

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Lambs averaging 94.8 kilograms were recently sent to Southern Meats, Goulburn, by the Hicks family of Woodlands, Wallendbeen.

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The Hicks family, Woodlands, Wallendbeen, proved superior genetics can still perform during any season when they recently offloaded second-cross lambs averaging 94.8 kilograms without depending on grain supplementation.

Steve and Ros Hicks, Woodlands, had 15 lambs that made up the heavy draft of their load to Southern Meats at Goulburn on Tuesday, while the balance of the 283 head sent for processing were made up of lambs averaging 79.1kg.

The lambs were grass-fed and only had access to graded out oats seconds in the last month.

"The lambs were from home-bred first cross maiden ewes of Kegra Border Leicester bloodlines," Ms Hicks said.

"We put Felix Dorset rams over them to get the second-cross lambs."

Operating across about 1000 hectares of land, the Hicks family run a mixed farming operation with a pasture to crop ratio of two-thirds pasture to one-third crop. "We have canola, oats and wheat in, both grain and grazing crops," she said.

The Hicks family were lucky enough to get under some rain this year, and got urea out before the falls, which allowed them to feed their stock on grazing crops and pastures.

"Steve likes to sow early, and with rain in early February the bulk of the grazing crop was in quickly," she said. "We normally secure 100 to 140 tonne of barley annually to either feed ewes during joining and/or lambing, and any excess goes to the lambs for fattening."

They have been farming at Woodlands since 2006, but their sheep breeding enterprise kicked off much earlier from 1997.

This year they joined approximately 3000 ewes, lambing from April onwards.

The Hicks family has been utilising Kegra Border Leicester and Felix Poll Dorset bloodlines for 10 years, and select early maturing rams with good eye muscle and fat cover to use over their breeding ewes.

"We buy in Merino ewes annually to breed our first cross ewe lambs. We sell the top 400 ewe lambs every year preg-tested in lamb, and keep the balance of 200 to 250 for ourselves as replacements," she said.

The bulk of the lambs produced at Woodlands go to Coles at Gundagai in a small spread at maximum weights, targeting the 24 to 26kg carcase weight.

"The balance, if the season is kind, more often than not go to Goulburn (Southern Meats) abattoirs," Ms Hicks said. "We rarely sell through the yards, except cull sheep."

The Hicks family also recently sold first cross ewe lambs scanned 165 per cent in lamb to a repeat buyer.

They are expected to lamb at 17 months of age.

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