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Mungadal’s even ewe line gets judges’ nod in 2012 Peppin-Shaw

WoolPoll Levy
Mungadal manager Jock Campbell and Pooginook business manager John Sutherland at the Mungadal yards.

6th April 2012

PARAWAY Pastoral has taken out the world’s biggest flock ewe competition with its Mungadal station.

Judges of the Peppin-Shaw Merino ewe flock competition gave the 59,000 ha station at Hay the thumbs up. It was the first time Mungadal station manager Jock Campbell had entered the event, while the station was a previous winner in 2002. He spent two days mustering and drafting more than 2000 2010-drop classed ewes for judging and display.

 Classed at a rate of 20 per cent, the Mungadal-blood ewes weighed an average of 64kg and were fat score three.

Owned by Paraway Pastoral since 2010, Mungadal was expanded last year with the addition of former T A Field Estates station, Pevensey. The station was the southern area winner and went on to claim the fertility award and be announced as the overall winner. Breeding Merinos since the 1840s, Mungadal operated as a stud for decades and comprises native salt bush plains with Murrumbidgee River frontage.

Set in a 363mm rainfall zone, the station is running at 75 per cent capacity with a plan to build to 20,000 breeding ewes. Using a double shearing, that will mean a massive 70,000 sheep shorn each year.

In March, Jock Campbell will oversee the shearing of 25,000 sheep on Mungadal. Classed by Ian Lilburne of Hay, the Mungadal flock is shorn at six monthly intervals in March and September. Mr Campbell said six monthly shearing had resulted in improved ewe body condition, conception rates, lambing percentages and fleece weights.

Over the two shearings, ewes have averaged 8kg of wool or an 18 per cent increase on an annual shearing. To produce the winning 2010-drop ewes, 5307 flock ewes were joined from December 14 to February 1 with lambing from May to June.

A total of  2928 ewe lambs and 2894 wether lambs were born. After a 20 per cent classing rate, 2109 ewes were retained. The 2010-drop wethers were sold for an average of $110 while mixed age ewes were sold last year for $108-$150.

Last year, Mungadal’s 21-micron wool clip yielded 68 per cent with a staple strength of 51 Newtons a kilotex and a staple length of 55mm (six months). “This year we have joined 14,000 ewes and are building to 20,000 so we will be shearing 35,000 sheep every six months,’’ Mr Campbell said. “Once we have phased out the Mungadal rams we will buy Pooginook poll rams.’’

Since arriving at Mungadal from Pooginook Merino Stud in September 2010, Mr Campbell has been learning how to manage the pastures. He uses planned or rotational grazing rather than running sheep in age groups. Mobs of 3000-5000 sheep are grazed across paddock sizes of 2000-2500ha.

  A grazing plan enables the mobs to move past the yards at key times including shearing or classing. “There is no need for the sheep to walk large distances to the shed,’’ Mr Campbell said. “There are three mobs (totalling) 14,000 breeding ewes, two mobs of ewe and wether weaners and 400 trade steers in a total of six paddocks to check daily.’’ Paddocks with the best pasture, shelter and watering points are reserved for the twin bearing ewes.

This year, the Peppin-Shaw showcased almost 10,000 maiden ewes on 10 pastoral properties across the western Riverina. Judge Cam Munro, of Warren, NSW, said Mungadal exhibited “100 per cent sheep passion’’. “It is wonderful to walk in and see a magnificent line of even sheep,’’ Mr Munro said.

Judge Ian Evans, of Deniliquin, NSW, said the ewes had great depth, resulting in more wool bales filled. “This is a terrific large line of commercial ewes with great make and shape,’’ Mr Evans said.

 

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