Our merino’s are plain bodied and open faced and require minimum care and attention. There is a high worm resilience, lustrous white wools, good carcass, productive sheep together with the ability to survive in challenging environments.
We have not mulesed since 2004 and ceased drenching our ewe base for worms in 1992. We are now seeing high incidence of bare breech and udders in our flock, together with our client’s flocks.
Our flock is highly fertile and we regularly achieve higher than normal lambing and weaning rates. We achieved in 2019 drought year, 121% lambs marked to ewes joined. This drought year has been recorded as the worst drought ever on eastern Australia!. Fertility and survivability is very important to us and our client base.
The Australian national average lamb loss from ewe scanning to lamb marking has been static at 35% for 30 years. Our lamb loss in the last two drought years has averaged 14%, with individual rams down in the single figures and our best ram at less than 4% lamb loss. This compares to best practice in sheded conditions in the EU that average 6-8% loss with high labour input. Our goal is to match this across the board.
White lustrous wool, long staple lengths, high density, small fibre bundles and softness are the five most important factors to producing exceptional wool quality and all our sires display these features. The national average for density is 55 fibres per square ml. Our leading sire has exceptional density at 127 fibres per square ml, with his first progeny coming through this year. Skin testing of sires helps to identify superior skins for constant improving of wool quality and quantity.
Good carcass characteristics
We only select sires that have positive growth, fat, muscle and scrotal, with many of our sires being in the top 10 percentile in these fields. We have a strong emphasis on carcass (eye muscle and fat) data which assists survivability and hardiness of our sheep and clients’ flocks. With the help of Australian Sheep Breeding Values (ASBV), run by Sheep Genetics Australia (SGA), we are able to continually improve on our sheep data, which is of immense benefit to our clients.
One of the major links to lamb survivability, temperament is strong on our agenda. Together with management, temperament is paramount in our sires selection, and ewe classing. Manually mothering up all lambs each year assists with recording such data.