THE 2016-18 Peter Westblade Memorial Merino Challenge will be the perfect benchmark for Yass property Cavan Station, as the team evaluates the flock’s genetic qualities.
General manager Matt Crozier said the wethers had performed well in the meat portion of the competition, with above average body weight and growth, and he expected strong results for the wool component.
“Our wool is a bit finer than a lot of the teams, and we’ve got a reasonable wool cut, so I think with this shearing we’ll see the value of our wool increase a bit more than others compared to last year,” Mr Crozier said.
Cavan Station has had sheep in the Bookham trial for many years, but it’s their first time in the Peter Westblade competition.
“We’ve been exposed to wether trials over the past couple of decades, but this is the biggest commercially-focused one drawing from a wider group of regions and genetics,” Mr Crozier said.
“When we decided to put a team in this challenge, we had only owned the stud for a couple of years, so the flock was still basically Cavan bloodlines, so we wanted to see how our genetics performed before we purchased the Bogo Merino stud.
“We will hopefully track the improvement since owning the stud and having access to quality genetics. I think the rate of genetic gain will speed up dramatically now that we own the stud. It’s also a really good opportunity to benchmark against the wider industry.”
Bogo genetics are now used throughout the entire flock, which has an average of about 18.3-micron and average wool cut of six kilograms.
Mr Crozier said he’d be entering another team in the 2018-2020 challenge.
“That’ll give us the opportunity to benchmark against ourselves and make sure we’re going forward with our genetics. You get so much information out of wether trials, whether you’re at the top or the bottom, and what we want to do is see that our sheep are progressing over time.”