Merino trial finds a $50 variation in sheep value

Woodpark Poll bloodlines top Peter Westblade Merino wether trial

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Peter Westblade Memorial Merino Challenge convener Craig Wilson at the shearing of the wethers. There was a $35 difference in wool value between the top and bottom wethers in the trial. Photo by Nikki Reynolds.

Peter Westblade Memorial Merino Challenge convener Craig Wilson at the shearing of the wethers. There was a $35 difference in wool value between the top and bottom wethers in the trial. Photo by Nikki Reynolds.

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New format for trial launching

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The final results for the 2018-2020 Peter Westblade Memorial Merino Challenge (PWMMC) showed a $50 per head difference between the top and bottom teams for sheep value.

The two-year genetic evaluation measuring wool, meat and growth traits of entrant's individual wethers also saw a $35 difference for both wool and mutton values.

Convener Craig Wilson said it was remarkable that such a huge range in profitability was found.

"There was a $35/head range in fleece value, which is just extraordinary, if you look at that net profit, you do the math on 2000 wethers, that's $70,000 extra income that comes straight into your pocket," he said.

The wethers in the trial averaged a wool value of $69.32, mutton value of $164.21 and overall sheep value of $233.53 (prices based on a two and a half year average).

It was BM and HP Mulquiny of Wooroonook, Vic with their Woodpark Poll blood wethers that came out on top, with a sheep value $25.64 above the trial average.

Their wethers performed well in both the meat and wool components, their mutton the most valuable in the competition, $17.66 above the average.

Pastora bloodline wethers from CJ and DN Bahr, The Rock had the most valuable wool in the trial, their wool value $20.23 above the average.

Hazeldean bloodline wethers from Goorama Partnership, Galong did well in both wool and meat components, with an overall sheep value deviation of $18.06.

Mr Wilson said the NSW DPI would also do Grassgro analysis, which would provide a net profit per hectare per team.

The trial's supporting partners are Fletchers International, AWI, Sally Martin Consultants and Riverina Wool Testers.

New trial format launching 

A new trial format, the Australian Merino Lamb Trial, will start in the coming weeks.

"We'll end up with 25 teams of 25 wethers and we're going to run them for six months on grazing crops, shear them and then process them," Mr Wilson said.

He said this format would allow them to see how much profit per hectare can be made from grazing crops.

"Anecdotally grazing crops look terrific because it gets you running around 20 sheep to the hectare, with the current wool and meat prices, that's a pretty hard thing to beat for your gross margin," Mr Wilson said.

Summary of top five results 

  • Dollar values are deviations from the trial average

1 - BM & HP Mulquiny, Wooroonook, Vic

Bloodline - Woodpark Poll

Wool Value - $7.98

Mutton Value - $17.66

Sheep Value - $25.64

2 - CJ and DN Bahr, The Rock

Bloodline - Pastora

Wool Value - $20.23

Mutton Value - $-0.54

Sheep Value - $19.69

3 - Goorama Partnership, Galong

Bloodline - Hazeldean

Wool Value - $5.06

Mutton Value - $13.00

Sheep Value - $18.06

4 - Andshara, Berrimal, Vic

Bloodline - Charinga

Wool Value - $2.27

Mutton Value - $13.49

Sheep Value - $15.77

5 - TA Field Estates - Benangaroo, Jugiong

Bloodline - Hazeldean

Wool Value - $4.89

Mutton Value - $8.65

Sheep Value - $13.54

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