A CHANGE in bloodlines throughout the life of Parkes district commercial Merino ewe enterprise at “Cherry Gardens” has progressed the flock owned by four generations of the Hood family.
They have always had sheep within their mix with winter cropping, but in recent years there has been a lot more attention paid towards the wool growing and prime lamb abilities within the flock, now that grain prices have come back relative to costs, and wool and lamb values have increased.
The flock began on Egelabra and later Manderville bloodlines, then Haddon Rig for some years, up until two years ago, when rams had been introduced from Overland, at Bogan Gate.
Andrew Hood said Overland was selected as it had similar conditions, its country being more like their own.
The family displayed 270 maiden ewes of their August-2015 drop, June shorn, during the 2017 Doug Bicket Memorial Parkes Merino Ewe Competition last February, attended by about 40 Merino industry enthusiasts.
Those ewes remained after a 30 per cent classing out from the 400 ewe lamb drop by Dubbo classer, Andy McLeod.
The adult ewe flock measured 20-micron average fibre diametre and according to Mr Hood, the sheep thrived on their red soil country.
The maidens were a mix of Haddon Rig and Overland progeny and Mr Hood said, as testament to their classing for easy-care sheep, it was the “first time ever” none had been “Clicked”.
“Because we do a lot of cropping we don’t like playing with flies in summer, but last summer we only had to treat 18 of 400, not a bad effort I thought,” Mr Hood said.
“That’s also a bonus of having our flock classed annually as we identify those ewes and get them out before they breed on.”
The competition was judged by James Derrick, Karoola Downs Poll stud, Gundagai, and Ross Wells, Willandra stud, Jerilderie. Both were impressed with the ewes. Mr Derrick said the wool was so bright it nearly blew you away.
“This is a productive flock of well-grown sheep with good nourishment keeping out the dust.”
Red soil country just 'the go' for Merinos
ROGER Hood says he’s blessed, as there are three generations of the Hood family living and working on the farm at “Cheery Gardens”, Parkes.
“I’m over the moon because Colby, my grandson, has taken an interest in the Merino sheep, and he’s even begun a flock of his own,” Mr Hood told the crowd at the flock inspection during the 2017 Parkes Merino Ewe competition.
Roger’s son, Andrew, meanwhile, admitted he was “more into cropping”, but in recent years had swung towards sheep as the dollars meant it was justifiable in the family’s agricultural mix.
“At the moment the family has a decent mix of cropping and sheep breeding and grazing,” he said.
“I do the books and budgets, and 10 years ago it was hard for me to say I liked sheep, as at that stage we were making big money out of cropping.
“But now I am actually doing a lot more sheep work than I have done previously, as dad can attest, mainly because the dollars are there in sheep again. There’ll always be a place for sheep on this property.”