COPR0319 VMB LeetonStudy 12pp Booklet V4 - Flipbook - Page 2
Leigh Maguire and Mark Tabain
GRAINFED LAMBS MAKE HISTORY
WHILE many Australian lamb producers revelled in record
lamb prices during spring, two Leeton lot feeders can lay
claim to having made history by setting a string of records
for the nation’s highest-priced pens.
On 20 July, consignments from Mark Tabain and Leigh
Maguire both fetched $284/head at Griffith Livestock
Marketing Centre, setting a national record in the process.
To everyone’s amazement, that record was surpassed only
days later at Wagga Wagga – and then in quick succession,
at Dubbo, Forbes and Wagga again as meat buyers sought
to fill contracts for extra heavy export lambs.
On 17 August, Mark established a new national record of
$318 with a pen of 58 second-cross Poll Dorset lambs. His
top pen had estimated dressed weight of 39 kilograms and
a skin value of $10, equating to an impressive 790 c/cwt.
Proving it was no fluke, Mark’s two other pens sold for
$317.50 and $314, an average of $316.50, easily beating
the previous week’s record price of $305.
Leigh’s three pens, which had an estimated dressed weight
of 38 kg, also surpassed the national benchmark by
Mark and Leigh conduct lamb feedlots on neighbouring
properties just outside Leeton. “Mark and I do more or less
the same thing except I feed barley and lucerne hay and he
feeds grain and straw,” Leigh Maguire says. “We buy lambs
together, we sell them together and we talk to each other
every second day.”
Leigh – together with his wife, Kylie, and children, Maggie
and Will – finishes 1000 to 1500 lambs per year on a 27 ha
irrigated block that produces about 40 tonnes of grain and
4000 small square bales each year. His feedlot comprises
three pens, each holding about 250 head, and equipped
with three self-feeders, licks and troughs.
“Our rule of thumb is one feeder per 100 lambs so there’s no
competition,” he says. “We buy lambs at about 38 to 40 kg
liveweight and finish them from about 70 kg onwards,
depending on market prices. This might vary by up to 10 kg,
depending on the market and the type of sheep we’re
feeding. Three years ago, there wasn’t the market for these
big heavy lambs we’re seeing at the moment
“We prefer to buy second cross or Merino x White Suffolk
lambs because they have the frame to put the weight on.
NUTRITION THAT STACKS UP