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Beyond the Bale : September 2018
60 ON FARM ELMORE FIELD DAYS Detailed analysis of the Elmore Field Day results has revealed that dual purpose Merinos were not only the most profitable prime lamb dam during the trial, but would have been the most profitable across the three market eras spanning the 24 years between 1994 and 2018. This highlights the resilience and versatility of the dual purpose Merino under a range of market conditions and provides a valuable insight for prime lamb producers seeking to maximise their profitability. FAST FACTS • The Elmore Field Days trial ‘Ewes for the Future: Lambs, Wool and Profit’ compared five breeds of ewes for their lifetime production of meat and wool. • The main characteristics measured were lambing percentage, lamb growth and wool production. • The trial results indicated that dual purpose Merinos delivered higher gross margins per hectare when stocked at the same DSE per hectare than the composites or 1st cross ewes in the trial. • Further analysis of the trial results demonstrated the value of dual purpose Merinos not only during the trial, but across three distinctly different markets for wool and lamb during the 24 year period from 1994 to 2018. A RECAP ON THE TRIAL The Elmore Field Days trial ‘Ewes for the Future – Lambs, Wool & Profit’ compared the merit of five breed types of ewes joined to terminal sires for six years. The ewe genotypes were the Border Leicester x Merino, local Loddon Valley Merinos from northern Victoria (studs represented East Loddon, Panoroma and Willera), Merino Central West NSW (Centre Plus), the Dohne Merino and the South African Meat Merino (SAMM). The ewes were run together as one mob except at lambing. All ewes were bred in clients’ commercial flocks. ELMORE FIELD DAYS TRIAL RESULTS The results showed that lambing percentages, lamb growth, wool and easy care characters are all highly relevant to improving profitability, but no single ewe type excelled in all areas. Once lambing percentage, lamb growth and wool production were considered, dual purpose Merinos were the most profitable alternative in the Elmore trial environment. The main results and estimated returns are shown in Tables 1 and 2. Breed group Border Leicester x Merino Merino, Loddon Valley Merino, Central West NSW Dohne SAMM Least significant difference Ewe weight at joining (kg) 79.6 63.6 70.7 70.6 79.7 8.1 Clean fleece weight (kg) 3.9 4.8 4.1 3.5 2.6 0.4 Fibre diameter mean (um) 30.3 20.9 19.0 20.8 24.4 1.3 Fetuses scanned per ewe joined 158% 129% 148% 126% 161% 18% Lambs born per ewe joined 150% 116% 138% 120% 156% 9% Lambs marked per ewe joined 132% 96% 116% 96% 132% 6% Lamb weight in spring (kg) 47.7 44.3 46.1 46.3 48.5 0.5 Wrinkle, neck & body (score 1-5) 1.2 2.5 2.3 1.6 1.1 0.2 Table 1: Production data for the five adult years from 2010 to 2014. Results cover (i) ewe weight, (ii) wool production, (iii) lambing percentage details, (iv) lamb weight and (v) skin wrinkle. Breed group Border Leicester x Merino Merino, Loddon Valley Merino, Central West NSW Dohne SAMM Lamb returns, $/ewe $155 $102 $130 $109 $157 Wool returns, $/ewe $20 $53 $50 $39 $23 Total returns, $/ewe $175 $155 $180 $148 $180 DSE rating per ewe-lambs unit 3.07 2.21 2.62 2.42 3.06 Total returns, $/DSE $57 $70 $69 $61 $59 Table 2: Average yearly income per ewe from lamb and wool production during the Elmore Field Day trial with the average DSE estimate per ewe-lambs unit* *The wool and lamb income per ewe were calculated each year using average prices over the 12 months in 2017 and are rounded to the nearest $. Lamb income per ewe was calculated from lambing percentage, lamb liveweight, dressing percentage and skin value. Wool income reflected clean fleece weight and fibre diameter differences.
In the Shops - September 2018