Containment lot at Boorowa saves ewes

Containment lot at Boorowa saves ewes

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Judges Andrew Rayner and Tom Kirk (rear) assessing the Merino ewes at West Killanear, Boorowa which have been in a containment lot since the begining of December.

Judges Andrew Rayner and Tom Kirk (rear) assessing the Merino ewes at West Killanear, Boorowa which have been in a containment lot since the begining of December.

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Keeping the potential of his Merino ewes was crucial for Murray Dymock

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A finalist in the Boorowa Show Society annual flock competition, Murray Dymock made the point in respect current drought conditions, his intention was to come through the current dry period with all of his females in full production potential.

To achieve that aim and also to ensure the integrity of his pastures, he confined his Merino flock in containment lots and fed them daily.

Running 3200 Merino ewes for 100 days over summer in containment lots, Mr Dymock and his father John, found it was so much easier to maintain the production of their sheep through the drought on West Killanear, Boorowa.

"It was a matter of looking after our ewes as much as looking after our country," Mr Dymock said.

"We put them in the lots to keep some of our ground cover and to stop the wind erosion blowing our topsoil away."

Following 63mm rain in early March, Mr Dymock said their decision to keep stock of their country was justified.

"The pasture has responded very well and we have able to keep our sheep in good condition," he said.

The sheep were fed Barley and wheaten straw on a daily basis and noted few losses throughout the summer.

Mr Dymock thought feeding his ewes in containment lots was a little dearer than feeding them in the paddock as they could be getting some feed from the paddock.

"You might only feed them every second day in the paddock but in the lot you have to feed them every day," he noted.

"We have troughs made from conveyor belts into which a set ration is delivered everyday."

Mr Dymock said the ewes are given 444 grams grain each day along with adlib wheaten hay.

The downside of having Merino sheep congregated in a small area was the amount of dust penetration into the fleece, and that is something Mr Dymock said he is very conscious of.

"These sheep have been in containment since the first of December and when I saw a fellows paddock blowing away at the end of September, I decided that wasn't for me," he said.

"I think I will cop a bit of discount on the wool but I think the place is going to look better for not having stock on it."

Murray Dymock, Bruce Reid and John Dymock, West Killanear, Boorowa with their maiden ewes entered in the Boorowa flock ewe competition.

Murray Dymock, Bruce Reid and John Dymock, West Killanear, Boorowa with their maiden ewes entered in the Boorowa flock ewe competition.

Mr Dymock pointed out it took him two weeks to accustom his ewes to grain and he said there is a fair bit of jostling to access their 20cm of conveyor belt when the feed is delivered.

"It is first in first served, but they do settle down," he said.

"Last years maiden ewes cut nine kilograms wool and I don't think these ewes will do quite the same but at least we have able to save our country."

When making his assessment of the West Killanear ewes, competition judge Andrew Rayner, Grathlyn, Hargraves said they were in as good condition as you would want coming through a drought.

"The wool cut is still there and I'm really impressed with their structure," he said.

Tom Kirk, Bundemar, Baldry was the other judge and he thought a bolder crimping wool with a bit more nourishment without losing the fine micron measurement would help keep the dust out.

"But I think under normal season conditions in this area the dust wouldn't be such a problem," he said.

"These are a good dual-purpose sheep and with their big hams which gives them their structure you don't get hocky, narrow sheep because they are filled in between their legs with a nice bit of meat it pushes their legs out."

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