Schute Bell ANFD (Australian National Field Day) Merino Wether Comparison trial released the first year shearing report of the three year trial recently, to demonstrate the productivity of Merino sheep flocks under commercial conditions.
Twenty-seven participants entered teams of 10 wethers randomly selected from their flocks to run as one trial mob, with 25 teams shorn at nine months in June 2016 and the remaining at 12 months in September.
The trial will run from 2015 to 2018, with nine month and 12 month wether teams measured for fleece weight, fibre diameter, wool value and assessed meat value.
The aim is to give a net value of production for each team, comparing the nine and 12 month shearing results within each team and between each entrant, along with providing a comparison within bloodlines.
At the shearing intervals, individual fleeces were skirted and weighed (greasy fleece weight) and given a type classification, this information was then used to calculate an average price from the previous week’s wool market on a clean wool basis.
The nine-month shearing conducted in June 2016, found Colin Sharpless, G. and M. Sharpless, Manildra, at the top of the table.
On Charinga bloodlines, the Manildra wether team recorded the largest dollar return of $59.75 of wool per head, 1075 cents above the trial average.
The 18.6-micron fleece also recorded the highest greasy fleece weight of 5.6 kilograms and highest clean fleece weight of 4.1kg.
In second place at $56.01 and 801 cents above the trial average was Wattle Grove Partnership, Dunedoo, on Langdene bloodlines.
The Wattle Grove 17-micron fleece returned a 5.3kg greasy wool weight and a clean fleece weight of 3.7kg.
Successfully positioned third was Kim Henderson, Groganworth Pastoral Company, Bowning, on Groganworth bloodlines, who returned an 18.6-micron fleece, with a $55.42 fleece value, a 5.4kg greasy wool weight and a clean fleece weight of 3.9kg.
Not far behind in fourth place was Garry Sunderland, G.J. and N.U. Sunderland, Fifield, on Darriwell bloodlines, who’s team returned a $53.61 fleece value, a greasy fleece weight of 5.2kg and a 3.7kg clean fleece weight.
Schute Bell ANFD Merino Wether Comparison chair, Brett Douglas, said the nine-month trial figures were interesting, saying the only real difference experienced was a lower greasy fleece weight and shorter length of staple.
The 12-month shearing conducted in September 2016, revealed the Sunderland team also recorded the highest dollar return of $72.07 of wool per head, 1336 cents above the 12 month trial average.
The 18.6-micron fleece tallied the highest greasy fleece weight of 7kg and a clean fleece weight of 5kg.
Ranking in second place was Carol Spittle, Kingslea Partnership, Bookham, on Grogansworth bloodlines, after measuring a $70.73 wool value, a greasy fleece weight of 6.5kg and 4.8kg for clean fleece weight.
Just off the mark in third place, was 9 month shearing tally topper, Colin Sharpless, G. and M. Sharpless, Manildra, on Charinga bloodlines.
The team reached $68.47 for wool value, and measured 6.6kg for greasy fleece weight and 4.8kg for clean fleece weight.
Positioned fourth on Greenland bloodlines, was Will Caldwell, Young, after recording $67.87 of wool per head, 6.8kg for greasy fleece weight and 4.8kg for clean fleece weight.
Chair, Mr Douglas concluded the wethers were presented in fantastic condition for the 12 month trial, saying the colour was of quality, however the ongoing rainfall had caused a slight creaminess in some teams.