Performance rams pay dividends for producers
The focus is simple at Gemini Prime Lamb Sires - lamb survival and fast growth. Principal Craig Mitchell has been breeding White Suffolks for nearly three decades, so he knows what matters to industry and his commercial customers.
“Our focus doesn’t change - low birthweight, lambing ease, fast growing, structurally correct heavy yielding - and performance recorded backed with DNA testing,” Craig said.
The Werneth based Victorian stud will offer 120 White Suffolk rams and 10 Suffolks, all 1.5 years, at its annual spring sale in October, Wednesday 19th, held on-property and interfaced with AuctionsPlus.
Gemini rams have above average terminal Australian Sheep Breeding Values and include plenty in the top 5% of the analysis according to Craig, and their performance data is supported by genomics.
“We have been taking DNA samples for many years and this year we will complete around 300 DNA tests across the progeny of our flock,” Craig said.
“This information helps build the accuracy of our breeding values and allows us to add accuracy to meat eating traits such as IMF (Intramuscular Fat) and shearforce.”
Craig says Gemini clients are making more enquiries about eating quality traits as they come to the forefront of industry advancements.
“As a stud you need to be aware of what the future is, and still keep in mind that the consumer is king,” he said.
“We need to be improving all the time to meet the needs of the consumer and eating quality traits are becoming more and more important now processors are beginning to adopt measuring and payment of these traits.”
Despite some recent price movement in the lamb market, Craig believes the long-term general outlook for red meat is very positive.
“The outlook for the lamb industry is really good, and the future will be favourable for those producers who are chasing the right profit drivers, as well as quality and quantity,” Craig said.
“Numbers per head is important, but so is the quality of those lambs.”
And “you can’t market a lamb that doesn’t survive beyond birth”, Craig adds, which is why lambing ease and lamb survival play a vital role in the Gemini breeding program.
“The amount of time consumed by people who have to assist ewes and the loss of ewes - eliminating that out of your breeding program commercially adds to your bottom line,” he said.
The Gemini stud has a strong focus on structure and Craig said he was “very particular” about ensuring structural correctness across the flock.
This whole operation focus means Craig isn’t keen to highlight any specific rams or family lines that will be offered at his sale in the spring, with the entire sale ram group worthy of buying attention.
This was certainly the case in 2021, when the stud achieved a new record high price of $18,000 at their spring sale.
Topping the sale was Gemini 200361, which sold to Hedingham White Suffolks, WA. The ram had a TCP rating in the top 1% of the breed at 163.44 and was sired by one of Gemini’s home bred rams.
Craig said Gemini-bred sires also featured heavily in this year’s sale draft.
Gemini Prime Lamb Sires will host its 24th annual spring on-property sale on Wednesday 19 October, with viewing from 10.30am and the auction kicking off at 12.30pm.
Updates about the sale and a full catalogue will be available at www.geminiprimelamb.com.au