Peter Hickey “Bellandre ” Molong 2008-2012
Peter came to Plevna in 2008, at the time he was cutting in the area of 5.5 to 6kgs of 20.5 micron wool with a lambing % average of about75%. We have been following his progress with interest.
Woolcut Peter has maintained his 20.5 micron but also achieved a lift of 1.5kgs in fleeceweight & a real increase in frame size which Peter thinks is really helping their surplus sheep sales. Craig Brien Peters woolclasser & shearing contracter has noted the ability of the wool to withstand fleecerot which he had seen a lot of over the last couple of wet years in the district.
Fertility The fertility story has been interesting. Peter has been meticulous at collecting data pertaining to his sheep. His results are as follows: figures here are ewes joined to lambs marked.
This is a fantastic improvement in Peter’s flocks fertility. Seasonal conditions definitely did help as did the start of visual classing in 2008 and the introduction of Plevna rams. We think these results speak for themselves. Thanks Peter and Marilyn for taking the time to document the results.
WRINKLE versus PLAIN SHEEP
Frank Donnelly has been collecting data to reassure the Merino industry that breeding for a wrinkle free Merino is the best long term solution to the mulesing conflict. He has data to show that producers won’t suffer catastrophic loss of wool cut by going for wrinkle free sheep, and there is lots of fringe benefits to be had.
The first 3 years of a 5 year comparison of 472 folds minus type sheep (plain) vs 761 folds plus sheep (wrinkled) breeding ewes influenced our approach then and ever since to go for a type of sheep with limited neck fold, body and breech wrinkle.
These plainer type ewes when averaging 22% more lambs marked with 9% less assistance during lambing, they also showed a clear superiority to handle the drought years of 1971-1972.
The folds plus (wrinkled sheep) did cut a bit more greasy wool as hoggets. It was slightly slower yielding and not as appealing to the wooler classer as the plainer sheep fleeces were. There was no difference in micron but the shearers took an average of 20% longer to shear the these sheep.
All in all the plainer type ewes were earning close to 25% per year more after 3 years of trialing. Little wonder we decided to make the plainer type ewes our aim in our breeding programme all those years ago.