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Pooginook continues to re-engineer the Merino

WoolPoll Levy

31st May 2013

Pooginook’s pursuit of a dual-purpose Merino for the sheep-wheat zones has gained momentum this year with eye muscle and fat measurements taken on ram weaners.

Specially bred 2012-drop rams have been ultrasound scanned for 200-day eye muscle and fat depth measurements as part of the stud’s comprehensive program to embrace the latest technology and industry research.

Pooginook Property Manager, John Sutherland, said parentage verification using Pedigree MatchMaker would increase the accuracy of breeding values in the progeny of single sire matings.

Australian Sheep Breeding Value accuracies have also been enhanced by the stud’s participation in a DNA blood testing pilot commercialisation program.

Partly funded by the Sheep Co-operative Research Centre, the project has involved the testing of 102 ram weaners at Pooginook.

“Breech wrinkle scoring of specially bred sheep will be completed at lamb marking this year,’’ Mr Sutherland said.

“This will provide direction on breeding a plainer breech on Pooginook rams.’’

External linkages to industry benchmarking through sire evaluation and wether trials continues to strengthen the stud’s genetic position.

Mr Sutherland said four workshops would be facilitated by Pooginook this winter to increase the use of objective measurement and visual assessment by ram buyers.

Last year, the stud sold 1,232 poll and Merino rams, cementing its position as the state’s leading supplier of Merino genetics.

Mr Sutherland described the 2012-drop rams as the best quality and biggest number offered by Paraway Pastoral.

Averaging 58 kilograms liveweight, the ram weaners will be grazed on irrigated pastures until July 2013 when they will return to native pastures before classing in August.

They were shorn on 22 April with growth, micron, and greasy fleece weight data taken for analysis by Sheep Genetics.

A total of 3,342 ewes were joined to Merino rams.

The stud joined 2,483 ewes to poll rams to lamb this year and 1,100 of these ewes were artificially inseminated to leading poll sires.

This will boost poll sale ram numbers to 43 per cent of the ram drop next year.

As one of the nation’s biggest on-property Merino ram auctions, the Pooginook sale on 1 October 2013 will catalogue 250 poll and Merino rams.

The stud will also offer 1,500 flock rams for sale this year from mid-September, with 33 per cent bred by poll sires.

 

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