BENCHMARKING MERINO GENETIC PROFITABILITY

27 Jan 2016 12:06 PM -

Australia’s largest commercial evaluation of merino genetics is about to begin in New South Wales.  The Peter Westblade Memorial Merino Challenge 2016-2018 will commence at Wagga Wagga in early April 2016 with up to 60 teams of 30 wethers.

Merino Challenge convener, Craig Wilson, said the aim of the Challenge is to demonstrate the relative productivity of a merino flock for economically important traits under equivalent conditions.  

“The information and data analysis produced will show entrants and the wider sheep industry the financial gains that exist through high performance merino genetics,” Mr Wilson said.

“Entry to the Merino Challenge is free and is open to any commercial breeders who are running self replacing merino types. We have received entries from Western Australia and Tasmania for the up-coming Challenge and places are still available,” said Mr Wilson.

“Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the performance of your merino genetics is a vital tool to gauge potential profitability.”

A recent analysis of two teams entered in the previous three Merino Challenge’s has shown a repeated variation of profitability between the two teams of 60%.  This can equate to $150/ha in net profit due to the influence of genetics.

Late last year, Craig Wilson presented at the GRDC Update in Wagga Wagga where he clearly demonstrated how sheep can be incorporated into cropping systems. 

“The key is to know the genetic capacity of the sheep you own. It will cost you dearly if the sheep you manage don’t match the system of production,” Mr Wilson said.

“It is almost impossible to accurately know this genetic capacity without the kind of benchmarking that the PWMMC offers.”

Each team of 30 wethers will be randomly split into two groups of 15 wethers and allocated into the Meat Challenge and the Wool Challenge. The Meat Challenge wethers will be fed a full commercial feedlot ration supplied by Conqueror Mills and processed at Fletchers International abattoir at Dubbo. The Wool Challenge wethers will be run over two years at a property outside of Wagga Wagga and assessed for wool performance each year.

“The previous PWMMC has shown the range in net profit from feeding merino lambs for meat and or to grow wool can be doubled by using high performance merino genetics. The challenge has proven beyond doubt what a merino sheep can achieve, combining excellent growth and carcass traits with high wool cuts which have low fibre diameter” Mr Wilson said.

Over the last twelve years, Merino Challenge Convenor Craig Wilson has collected benchmarking data on more than 4,500 wethers run in trials at Wagga Wagga, Alectown, Warren, Narrandera, Taralga and Temora.  

“The huge bank of data built up over the past 12 years allows new entrants to the PWMMC a chance to benchmark their flocks genetics against up to 300 teams in previous trials.” 

The Challenge honours the late Peter Westblade, a true visionary, epitomising compassion and devotion to a cause who passed away in late 2008, the Challenge is supported by Zoetis, Moses & Son Woolbrokers, Sally Martin Consulting, Rabobank, NSW DPI, Sheep CRC, Riverina Wool Testers, Australian Wool Innovation, Meat and Livestock Australia, Fletchers International, Conqueror Milling and ProWay.

For more information and entry details contact Craig Wilson on 0428 250 982.


ENDS

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27 Jan 2016 12:29 PM -

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MERINO CHALLENGE TESTS BLOODLINES

8 Apr 2013 9:32 AM - A two-year Merino Challenge which benchmarks genetics to assess the wool and meat productivity differences of 32 different Merino bloodlines has released preliminary results this week.

A two-year Merino Challenge which benchmarks genetics to assess the wool and meat productivity differences of 32 different Merino bloodlines has released preliminary results this week.

The Peter Westblade Memorial Merino Challenge 2012-2014 is Australia’s largest commercial evaluation of merino genetics, designed to facilitate the genetic benchmarking of the traits affecting fleece and carcass values.

The Merino Challenge held its first shearing evaluation on April 4-5 at the Temora Agricultural Innovation Centre, NSW. More than 300 people attended the event to see sixty teams sourced from commercial flocks in NSW, Vic, SA and Tasmania being shorn, whilst live data was available on every fleece.

Merino Challenge Convenor Mr Craig Wilson of Craig Wilson and Associates said some of the Merino industry’s largest breeders and most influential bloodlines are represented in the Challenge. Wethers entered are split evenly into wool and meat challenges, with the wool sheep run as a single mob at Temora at 10 DSEs a hectare.

“The preliminary wool results show the genetics of a flock can lead to massive productivity variations, the top 20 per cent of teams averaged 25% more clean wool, 1 micron finer, 6% heavier body weight and $13.50 per head more fleece value”.

 “Breeders of merino sheep have some powerful information at their fingertips to assist their own theories and compliment their skills in breeding.  Australian Sheep Breeding Values, Genomics, Merino Challenges and Sire Evaluations are all examples of quality independent tools that are able to be used,” Mr Wilson said.

The completed meat component of the Challenge, identifies that strains of Merino sheep have significantly better growth rates  (28%) at the same age under the same nutritional opportunities.  A comprehensive report has been produced where meat traits have been measured and analysed for the 60 different teams.

Marty Moses, Moses and Son Woolbrokers and Sally Martin, Sally Martin Consulting play integral roles in the Merino Challenge and without their assistance in co-ordination and data management a trial of this magnitude would be impossible.

“The data and information generated from the PWMMC is applicable to the whole of the Merino industry, not just the entrants. The wethers in the Challenge are a window to how your ewe flock is performing. Previous experiences show high performance genetics have the capacity to double the net income generated from a merino business” Mrs Martin said.

 “The high performance team’s show that merino wool enterprises can often out perform other land uses in terms of net profit per hectare, with a significantly lower production risk” Mr Moses said.

This Merino Challenge is the sixth benchmarking evaluation run by Craig Wilson, where the first commenced in 2004 and was run at Collingullie, NSW. He has now been able to benchmark about 200 Merino businesses for both wool and meat productivity. 

“The Merino Challenge enables Merino producers to get a measured analysis of where their genetics are at,” Mr Wilson said.

Results from the previous Merino Challenge showed the difference in net profit per ha between the top and bottom teams had been 114 per cent in the first year and 77 per cent in the final year. 

The Merino Challenge will run for another 11 months at the Temora Agricultural Innovation Centre.  The final shearing will take place in March, 2014 where individual data will be collected once again.

A comprehensive report will be produced in 2014 and a new Merino Challenge will kick off for another two years.

Major support for the PWMMC is coming from Australian Wool Innovation, Bluechip Livestock, Moses and Son and Sally Martin Consulting.

More information: Craig Wilson 0428 250 982

 

TOP 9 PERFORMING TEAMS - 2013 SHEARING

Rank

Entrant

GWW

Micron

Wool $

Bloodline

1

TA Field Estates Pty Ltd

6.6

16.9

$54.23

Mixed

2

GF & RK Davidson

6.1

16

$53.37

Middleview

3

J.S. Obst Partnership

6.7

17.2

$51.02

Woolaroo

4

CW Mattiske & Co

7.1

18.1

$50.71

Bundilla/Pooginook

5

Bronzewing Pastoral Co

6.3

16.5

$50.68

Pastora

6

Jimenbuen Pastoral Co

6.5

16.7

$50.48

Hazeldean/Greendale/Middleview

7

PG & MA Drew

6.2

16.1

$50.45

Pastora

8

MR & LM Burge

7.2

18.7

$50.30

One Oak

9

RT and BJ Norman

6.7

17.6

$50.00

Pooginook

Wool Value based on a 5 year average wool price $/head.

 

VIEW 2013 SHEARING GALLERY 

 

 

 

 

CHALLENGING MERINO GENETICS

22 Mar 2013 4:37 PM - Whilst science and technology is being embraced with open arms in most cropping enterprises the uptake of science and technology in the Merino industry is often not supported, and therefore has a relatively low adoption rate.

Whilst science and technology is being embraced with open arms in most cropping enterprises the uptake of science and technology in the Merino industry is often not supported, and therefore has a relatively low adoption rate.

But for merino genetic consultant Craig Wilson, using the latest in technology and science forms a strong viewpoint. “Breeders of merino sheep have some powerful information at their fingertips to assist their own theories and compliment their skills in breeding. Australian Sheep Breeding Values, Genomics, Merino Challenges and Sire Evaluations are all examples of quality independent tools that are able to be used.”

The Peter Westblade Memorial Merino Challenge 2012-2014 is Australia’s largest commercial evaluation of merino genetics, it is designed to facilitate the genetic benchmarking of the traits affecting fleece and carcass values.

The current Peter Westblade Memorial Merino Challenge (PWMMC) 2012-2014 is hosted at the Temora Agricultural Innovation Centre and is home to 60 teams of 15 wethers sourced from commercial flocks from South Australia, Victoria, Tasmania and New South Wales.

“Some of the Merino industry’s largest breeders and most influential bloodlines are represented in the Challenge which will identify the range in performance for wool and meat over two years”, Mr Wilson said.

“We are certainly building a large bulk of data across a range of environments, 5,800 sheep have been evaluated at Wagga Wagga, Alectown, Taralga, Warren and now Temora, a highlight of this current challenge is the diversity in bloodline and location of the entrants” Mr Wilson said.

The PWWMC commenced in April 2012, when 30 wethers were submitted to the challenge. Based on equal weight allocation 15 wethers were allocated to the Meat Challenge and the other 15 wethers to the Wool Challenge.

The meat component of the Challenge, now complete, identifies that strains of Merino sheep have significantly better (28%) growth rates at the same age under the same nutritional opportunities.  A comprehensive report has been produced where meat traits have been measured and analysed for the 60 different teams.

Marty Moses, Moses and Son Woolbrokers and Sally Martin, Sally Martin Consulting play integral roles in the PWMMC and without their assistance in co-ordination and data management a trial of this magnitude would be impossible.

”The data and information generated from the PWMMC is applicable to the whole of the Merino industry, not just the entrants. The wethers in the challenge are a window to how your ewe flock is performing. Previous experiences show high performance genetics have the capacity to double the net income generated from a merino business” Mrs Martin said.

“Results over the years I have been involved in the genetic benchmarking conducted by Craig Wilson, have consistently shown that the best Merino genetics consistently deliver very high profit margins for both wool and meat. The high performance team’s show that merino wool enterprises can often outperform other land uses in terms of net profit per hectare, with a significantly lower production risk” Mr Moses said.

The PWMMC pays tribute to the late Peter Westblade who was a passionate and successful poll merino breeder from Lockhart in NSW.

The first shearing of the PWMMC 2012-14 will take place on April 4-5 at the Temora Agricultural Innovation Centre and is open to the public.

The great work in merino genetic promotion that Peter Westblade undertook will be honoured at a dinner on the 4th April featuring the announcement of the second Peter Westblade Scholarship recipient.

Feature demonstrations and displays on precision sheep management from Allflex, Gallagher, Peak Hill Industries, Proway, Sapien Technologies, Coopers, Zoetis and Trutest will also be on-site.

Major support for the PWMMC is coming from Australian Wool Innovation, Bluechip Livestock, Moses and Son and Sally Martin Consulting.

If you are interested in attending please RSVP to Moses and Son and 02 69773100 for catering purposes.

ENDS

For more information contact : Craig Wilson 0428 250982