Langdene for lock structure at Flowerburn

Langdene for lock structure at Flowerburn

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Daniel Fitzell with his Langdene-blood maiden ewes winners of the Southern Tablelands flock ewe championship.

Daniel Fitzell with his Langdene-blood maiden ewes winners of the Southern Tablelands flock ewe championship.

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Daniel Fitzell selects Merino rams from Langdene for their lock structure and nourishment.

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Nine years ago when Daniel Fitzell wanted to take a new direction with the Merino flock bred on the family farm Flowerburn, Peelwood, he and his sheep classer Nathan King attended the Southwest Slopes Stud Merino field day held at Galong.

Mr Fitzell was one of the original entrants in the local Crookwell Merino ewe competition which commenced in 2012 and he said taking part encouraged him to think deeply about being able to lift the productivity of his flock.

Having good lock structure and fibre alignment and good nourishment was what he learnt about in his first year in the competition and continues to strive for it since.

"The judges that year were Frank Kaveney and Drew Chapman and they talked a lot about lock structure and nourishment in wool," Mr Fitzell said.

"They explained how it keeps out dust and sheds water and I started thinking about how I could improve the production of my flock by lifting the quality of my wool."

So when Mr Fitzell and Nathan King attended the stud Merino field day they had a reasonably clear idea in their mind of the type of sheep they needed to stamp those two vital characteristics on the Flowerburn flock.

"It was a good venue to compare a lot of different studs who had rams on display," he said.

"At the Langdene display, we were very impressed by the stylish wool with good crimp and length of staple with nourishment.

"The rams were of a good size and we thought they would suit my country and breeding goals."

The Flowerburn-bred flock were the winners of the 2020 ANZ and NSW Stud Merino Breeders Association ewe championship, which bears out the success Mr Fitzell is having with the Langdene genetic base.

Current production figures of 6.2kg from the grown sheep measuring 17.7 microns and 4.2kg for the hoggets measuring 16.6 microns from the 2019 clip give some indication of the performance of the Flowerburn flock.

Each year Nathan King, now based in WA classes the maiden ewes and for the 2019 drop he took out 38 percent.

After that initial classing, Mr Fitzell goes through each age group annually taking out those who had fallen behind in production potential.

"I'm very pleased with the style of the wool and the type of sheep I am now breeding since introducing Langdene rams," he said.

Other Langdene-blood flocks which had success in the central-west zone of ewe competitions included Geoff and Phillip Cole, Pindari, Mandagery whose family flock classed by Geoff Cole and measuring 18 micron was presented with the encouragement award in the Parkes-based competition.

In the Mudgee event there were several flocks on Langdene blood which took out awards.

Mick and Wendy Inder with Mick's father Joe, Matfield, Dunedoo were judged into first place with their 18 micron bulky fine-medium wool flock of 1400; the first Langdene-bred rams being purchased by Joe in 1984.

In second place were the maiden ewes bred by Les and Marj Deutscher, Tooloon, Goolma. The ewes came from a 500-head drop before a 20pc cull classed by Gordon Cox. The Tooloon flock has been on Langdene for some seven years and averages 19 micron with an overall average wool cut of 5.5kg.

Wallerwaugh Pty Ltd, Glenfoyle, Grattai, of Greg and Richelle Lawson, were also highly commended for their ewes of Langdene blood.

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