THE FARM TABLE SPOKE WITH
TOM BULL FROM LAMBPRO
Please provide a brief history and overview of Lambpro.
Lambpro was launched in 2005 after 12 years trading as Sonning Genetics. It’s a partnership which includes family members.
What motivated the establishment of Lambpro?
The key driver of LAMBPRO was a passion for the lamb industry and particularly genetics. This has been life long and Lambpro was really a more corporate approach to genetics as opposed to the typical stud sheep model.
What are the key success factors for Lambpro?
Objective measurement, profitability for producers and producer education have always been the backbone of LAMBPRO. This has determined what we breed as opposed to being constrained by tradition and purebreds. As the demographic of producer has changed so has the buying patterns of lamb producers. This has seen more interest in sheep bred for performance as opposed to the show ring.
What are your key efficiency drivers?
Scale in seedstock is a major driver of efficiency. It means any genetic investment can be spread over more rams. I always said running 800 ewes was harder than 4000 ewes as we didn’t have the labour and technology.
The other key drivers of the business are educating producers. Its as easy to communicate to hundreds of producers now with email etc.
Would you do anything differently if you started again?
Certainly, there are a number of areas of poor investment, but all have contributed to learning. The biggest early on was taking big gambles in embryo transfer to ramp up production. The down side was poor results cost us hundreds of thousands of dollars.
What is the biggest challenge you face and what are steps are you taking to overcome this?
The biggest challenge for young farmers has always been access to capital.
Developing Lambpro was very capital intensive and required hundreds of thousands on artificial breeding and genetic acquisition. The only way to overcome this issue is taking a profit focus. We need to be lean and mean and the back end to ensure we have the capital to spend on improving our genetics products.
What has been your most memorable moment to date at Lambpro?
We have broken nearly every flock ram sales records at some time. The most memorable moment were the sales in the tough years 2006 and early 2007. We were worried about the impact drought had on our clients but they came out with amazing support and we posted some excellent results.
The confidence in our program post drought is what kept them going.
What is your vision for the Australian agricultural industry?
Australian agriculture needs more entrepreneurs and less bureaucracy. Too much time is spent meddling over stale farming organisation's as opposed to looking at market opportunities and making them happen.
Businesses need to take control of their own market, and own cost of production and cement a future based on these two fundamental things.
The people we see in the sheep industry that are successful simply look at these two things and don’t get caught up in the politics.