Our business owns a lamb breeding property near Parndana on Kangaroo Island, a 45 minute boat ride from mainland South Australia. The property is a relatively new addition with our previous breeding property located at Coonalpyn in SA’s Upper South East. The pristine environment of Kangaroo Island with its impressive productive ability drew us to the property St Ives. On St Ives we run around 5,000 merino ewes that are mated to White Suffolk rams with the primary aim of producing a high quality prime lamb (lamb for meat). At weaning (around 6-7 months of age) lambs are brought back to our home property, Thornby, at Sanderston (about 1 hour east of Adelaide) for the finishing stage of the production process.
On Thornby we have developed a unique grain finishing system for our lambs that focuses on diet and welfare to create the best possible eating experience for our consumers.
Our lambs are fed for 40-50 days on a grain-based diet high in protein and energy which they can access 24 hours a day, 7 days a week via multiple self-feeders. Through receiving the best possible nourishment, free from antibiotics or hormones, the amount of muscle is optimized which results in a dramatic enhancement in meat tenderness. Poorly nourished lambs or older sheep tend to be tougher leading to an unpleasant eating experience. The diet the lambs receives aids the reduction in the “sheepy” smell and taste traditionally associated with lamb meat. Where possible all the grains and hay that the lambs consume are grown on our Thornby property, further adding to our complete traceability credentials.
The latest in animal handling technology and management techniques have been incorporated into our business to ensure our lambs are exposed to the absolute minimum amount of stress possible. Our number one concern is to keep our lambs comfortable and happy, an added benefit of our practices is that reducing stress positively impacts on the eating attributes of the meat.
We place vital importance on having the ability to trace all of our lambs right through the production process from how they were initially raised to where the grain and hay was grown to finish them. Traceability and ethical management is far more important to us than commercial terms such as “Organic” or “Grain Fed”. In 2010 our business received accreditation to the Livestock Production Accreditation Scheme – Quality Assurance (LPAS-QA) administered by AusMeat. This accreditation confirms our current practices and what we have been preaching about animal welfare and traceability practices. Today we are one of only 5 producers in Australia who can meet these high standards.
To ensure that supply of high quality Thornby Premium Lamb all year round we source young lambs from like-minded lamb producers to enter our grain finishing system. We have developed relationships with numerous producers who we annually source lambs from. For further information including pricing about supplying store lambs to Thornby please contact Alex McGorman on 0421 038 504.
We hand select each lamb to ensure that you enjoy the best this fantastic meat has to offer. Through taking our time and looking closely at each lamb we can find the lamb with the ideal amount of fat; not too much to keep the meat a healthy choice, enough though to ensure the meat performs the best when cooked.