THE first 12 months are the most critical in terms of growth for Merinos, as it is this stage which turns into the biggest commercial profit.
That's the principle held by Forbes-based, Lachlan Merinos, NSW, which continues to find success in selecting for fast growth rates in young sheep.
The focus has also had major benefits in maiden ewes, with improved conception rates.
According to owners, Glen and Margot Rubie, many of their clients who have changed to Lachlan blood have found their young sheep now get up and get growing much quicker, which enables them to sell heavier lambs, cut more wool and get in lamb at an earlier age.
"It is the length of Lachlans' bodies and their heavy cutting white wools that we continue to receive positive feedback about from our clients," Mr Rubie said.
The stud selects for deep crimping, heavy cutting and silky white wools by 12 months of age.
It also selects for superior genetics, not for age.
Lachlan Merinos forged the path for selecting merinos not only for wool quality and quantity, but also for early maturity and meat.
That is why it shears ewe lambs, who are full sisters to the rams on offer (12 to 13 months old), prior to its ram auction each year.
Last sale, the highest commercial value fleece was 17.1 micron weighing 12.8 kilograms, valued at $148.35, sired by Lachlan 130 (pictured).
Lachlan Merinos uses commercial reality by pregnancy scanning, classing, weighing, and selecting ewes and rams at 12 months of age.
Lachlan was founded on Peppin and Mandalay bloodlines, and continues to use artificial insemination has it has done for more than 30 years, and embryo transfer in the past decade.
While coronavirus may have made things a little trickier to coordinate, the annual on-property ram sale is still considered an essential service, so it will be held on Wednesday, September 16.
"We will adhere to the health guidelines at the time of sale," Mr Rubie said.
"We will also be adding an on-property ram inspection day of Friday, September 4, as well as utilising the Auctions Plus online selling platform (live-streaming) for those who are unable to make the sale.
"We also offer free ram delivery for anyone who requires it."
Lachlan is a family operation, with the next generation, Mitchell, 19, and Campbell, 15, keen and involved in the stud and farming operations.
In fact, in May 2019, Mitchell, who is completing a Bachelor of Agricultural Business Management, was part of the Australian Wool Innovation National Merino Challenge.
Held over two days in Sydney, the event drew more than 160 students from around Australia to challenge their abilities in feed budgeting, condition scoring, breeding objectives, wool harvesting and commercial classing of both animals and fleece.
Mitchell was part of the Charles Sturt University team that was named the top tertiary team in the competition. He also placed second in the individual section.
He was also integral in the studs 2015 purchase of One Oak 311 (Mary), the champion medium wool ewe and supreme ewe of the Sydney Royal Easter Show.
There will be embryo transfer (ET) progeny from this ewe available at the 2020 on property sale. Lachlan rams go into all states of Australia, from $800.
Although there have been challenges to the industry since the start of this year, Mr Rubie said it was great to see widespread rains throughout most parts of Australia.