Ewes for the Future

Comparing the merits and profitability of sheep breeds for farming enterprises

Showing the Difference -

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Ewes for the Future

Comparing the merits and profitability of sheep breeds for farming enterprises

The issue

Rising commodity values within the sheep industry have renewed interest in the profitability of different bloodlines and flock structures. Members of Central Murray BestWool Best Lamb expressed an interest in comparing the profitability of their flock against bloodlines used in a 5 year benchmarking study.

The solution

An information night was held to review the results of a sheep bloodlines trial which was run in similar environmental conditions to the Western Murray region. Researchers of this trial were present to explain the profitability results of their 5 year study. Funding for this event was obtained through WMLIG, DEDJTR and MLLS through the National Landcare Programme.

The information night was held at a local bowling club, with time allowed for networking between attendees before and during the presentations. A 'clicker' survey was completed prior to presentations so that speakers could gauge the demographics and interests of their audience. A review of the relevance of information was completed at the end.

The impact

Surveys on the night revealed that our audience targets carcass growth rate and fleece yield in their sheep enterprises. Their enterprise type was influenced by suitability to the environment, farm program and profitability. Almost half of the attendees ran self-replacing Merinos.

The current breed structures used by the majority of farm enterprises reflected the trial results explained by presenters. They indicated the Centre Plus Merino and SAMM (Merino) breeds to be most profitable due to the combination of lamb and wool returns. This result gave farmers confidence in their current enterprise and motivated them to analyse how the data may relate to specific improvement opportunities relating to genetics and breed characteristics.

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Key facts

  • Improved knowledge on profitability of sheep breeds
  • Provided ample networking opportunities
  • Majority of attendees found their current breed structure was most profitable
  • Participants able to analyse the relevance of this information to individual business'

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