Watsonia growers of the year

AF Smith and Co of Geraldton has won the 2003 Watsonia Contract Grower of the Year Award in the category of more than 4,000 pigs supplied per annum to Watsons Foods.

The Nola Downs baconers "hit" Watsons’ peak weight and grade matrix of 60 to 80 kilograms carcase weight and 12 millimetres of backfat, 22 per cent more often than their nearest rival.

The farm, run by Allan and Win Smith was the inaugural winner of the award in 1996 and also won last year in the same category.

CA & EM Benson & Sons of Mingenew won the less than 4,000 pigs per annum category for the fourth successive year.

Only 10 per cent of the baconers consigned by Bensons to Watsons fell outside the Watsons peak grade – the best result ever achieved.

The company was 12 per cent clear of the second place getter.

Watsons livestock manager Joe Ascenso said the Benson’s family oriented farming business focused on driving efficiencies, especially during the last year which had been very challenging for producers, due mainly to drought-inflated feed prices.

Other producers recording significant increases over last year in the percentage of their pigs achieving Watsons’ peak grade included David Topham of Commerberdale (up 22 per cent); Graeme and Margaret Jones of Ongerup (up 12 per cent); and Robin and Clare Smith of Mukinbudin (up 10 per cent).

Errol and Annette Howard and son Brenden won the Watsonia Merit Award.

The Wannamal family supplies Wastons about 15,000 pigs a year from their 8,000 place wean to finish unit.

Watson general manager Derek Smith said the Howards were instrumental in developing Watsons’ multi-site contract system and for the past several years had been very supportive of Watsons’ fresh pork export push.


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