Current on Farm Trials

Whenever possible we take the opportunity to measure the progress of our sheeps performance in other sheep breeding operations.

2012 Trials – Fleece weight and body weight comparisons

Tom Medcalf of ” Tyrone ” Trundle purchased 2 poll rams in 2010 and conducted an on farm trial to measure the differences if there were to be any in fleece and body weight in the wether portion, which had been running as 1 mob with the females. The Plevna cross as a total averaged a fleece weight of 8.59kg as opposed to the comparison sheep present which averaged 7.96kg.

Body weight results: 1st October 2012 we weighed (Tom and Boydie) the wether portion. The Plevna crosses on average weighed 59.05kg as opposed to the comparison sheep which weighed on average 56.5kg. Thus the Plevna sheep weighed on average 2.5kg heavier. It was also pleasing to notice the plainer skin types as the sheep are now only 3 weeks off shears.

This information is vital to us as enables us to know how the bloodline is performing. Thankyou to Tom for taking the time to allow this to happen.

Plevna Merinos

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.

Year Lambs Marked Lambing %
2007: Ewes joined 866 653 75%
2008: Ewes joined 789 568 72%
2009: Ewes joined 633 564 89%
20010: Ewes joined 1184 1183 100%
20011: Ewes joined 909 1104 121%

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.

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.

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