My name is Russell Smith and along with my wife Nicole and parents Barry and Colleen Smith we run a third generation mixed cropping and self replacing sheep flock in the Lockhart district.
We have been using Triggervale rams for around 25 years, prior to this my father Barry ran a Corriedale stud. In 2004 we made the decision to introduce terminal sires to our flock, with Triggervale White Suffolk being our obvious choice as we have been nothing but pleased with the past performance of our Triggervale rams.
Our flock consists of 1150 ewes, 800 of which we spring join to Poll rams to maintain our breeding flock. Triggervale White Suffolk rams are joined to the other 350 ewes. We have found the White Suffolks to be an ideal mix with our Poll ewes, as this combination allows us to either market suckers in late winter, which can be a very handy cash flow and greatly reduce feeding if the season is poor, or take them through to heavy weights if the market dictate.
This approach has resulted in us being able to sell half of our Suffolk cross lambs off as suckers at 5 months of age for a top of $138 in 2010 and $102 in 2009. We then grew out the balance of our 2010 drop XBD lambs which sold in January for a top of $201.
Our Poll wether lambs were also suitable to be sold as prime lambs at 10 months of age at an average price of $178, plus a wool cut, which combines to make them a very attractive package. This on top of selling cast for age ewes at $125 makes the Triggervale Poll genetics a very profitable operation.
The flexibility of our self-replacing Polls has been a real asset as they have given us the ability to sell any cull ewe lambs as prime lambs, removing the need to hold them to hoggets. We also love the fact that by having a self-replacing flock and purchasing ram from a stud which we know is making rapid genetic progress we are obtaining the cumulative benefits over the generations.
Lambing percentages are a genuine strong point with our Triggervale stock averaging over 100% lambs to ewes joined consistently for the last 10 years.
Our Triggervale Poll rams have proven themselves over time by allowing us to produce not only a self-replacing flock of ewes with excellent maternal qualities, but also a pleasing wool cut and desirable prime lambs. Our decision to also utilise Triggervale White Suffolk rams has been an extremely successful one as it has enabled us to consistently produce high yielding and high quality prime lambs, greatly increasing our profit margins and enabling us to sell our lambs much earlier than in the pe believe the transformation in all aspects of our flock is quiet dramatic since we shifted to Trigger Vale Polls. Wool quality, fertility and the growth rates of our lambs have all improved.