Article by Ian Turner
This year’s annual Coolawang Border Leicester ram sale at Mundulla on Thursday October 8th will have a different lead up, with no Adelaide Royal Show inspections or results, but the same elite quality genetics will be on offer.
While Trevor, Judy, Lachie and Olivia James are tremendously proud of the numerous showing successes Coolawang has achieved over the last four decades, including having the supreme champion ram of all breeds last year and being most successful Border Leicester exhibitor for the 8th time in the last 9 years, these are not where their main focus lies.
The family has always had a strong commercial focus in their breeding objectives. Besides their own significant commercial achievements, they believe the successes of their valuable long-term clients are a great endorsement of their genetics.
“Our many dedicated and long-term clients have provided wonderful support of our program and we value them deeply,” Lachie James said.
“Naturally, we also welcome and value any new clients as they come on board; but it is the success of all our commercial clients that is the centre of focus in our breeding program and the true measure of our success as stud breeders,” he said.
“Our objective has always been to breed commercially relevant sheep that can consistently produce top quality progeny for our clients,” Trevor James added.
“Also, with them in mind, we have striven to maintain affordability, while keeping quality at the highest level we can produce.”
“We’ve added rams in line with demand, hoping all clients on all budgets can get quality rams at good value,” Trevor said.
Also, the performance within their own commercial flock is another measuring stick that simply can’t be ignored. This strongly influences the stud breeding decisions they make; which is then a benefit to all the other clients who have come to appreciate the quality of Coolawang genetics over the years.
The James family’s many recent commercial successes start at the annual Naracoorte first cross young ewe sale. In clear evidence they are right on the mark, they achieved yet another fantastic sale result last November, with their 680 first cross ewes topping at $398 and averaging an outstanding $396, plus again winning the best presented pen award for the 11th time. That is exceptionally consistent high-quality production.
Many of their clients in the Naracoorte ewe and ewe lamb sales also had great success and this further backs up the Coolawang brand as one that can be thoroughly trusted.
Not only that, they also recorded the then highest lamb prices in the state at the Naracoorte Regional Livestock Exchange (NRLE) in June last year, selling their first-cross wether lambs at $337/head.
This shows that Coolawang’s concentration on producing true dual-purpose Border Leicesters that offer both wool and carcase attributes, can result in top economic returns for commercial clients from progeny of both sexes.
“All our rams are eye-muscle and fat scanned in early August and we are very pleased with the results and progress.
“This has carried through to our 1st cross flock and is resulting in fantastic growth rates and muscling.
“We had some more of our first cross wether lambs processed by Richards Butchers, with their average dressed weight being 45kg, plus they yielded extremely well at 49%,” Lachie James said.
Coolawang’s Border Leicesters are produced with a balance of structural excellence, especially with strong bone and constitution, high fertility background and top Lambplan measured performance. While they seek elite performance levels, they do not focus on figures-based selection alone, but these are considered in conjunction with phenotype. Extended lifetime performance of rams is a point often overlooked when selecting on figures alone.
Two important extra bonuses for clients are Coolawang’s move to side sampling and micron testing all their rams 2 years ago, plus testing and selection for worm resistance. There is a real premium for sheep producers who can offer their first cross wool in the preferred under 30micron range. Coolawang is one of the very few studs offering this information on all sale rams. The worm resistance selection will ensure that the Coolawang rams and their progeny will be able to withstand annual worm burdens better than most other options.
Trevor, Judy, Lachie & Olivia James welcome your enquiry, but all prospective purchasers can get updates on their website (www.coolawang.com.au), or through regular posts on Facebook.
Coolawang 180177, the 2019 Adelaide supreme all-breeds champion ram pictured when awarded the Border Leicester grand champion ram title with judge, Ian Gilmore, Oberon, NSW and Trevor and Lachie James. This was Coolawang’s 8th Border Leicester champion ram award in a row.