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Beyond the Bale : February March 2009
February – March 2009 Beyond the Bale stUd BReedeRs / edUcAtiOn ConsistenCy among peers to compare sheep. However, stud principal Peter capel says performance over time – at a high standard – is a more important indicator of success than one show ribbon. “it’s terrific to win a championship, but it is consistency at the show that n tells you that you are going in the right direction,” he says. His stud, which won both Reserve champion Medium ewe and the Housed Medium Ram Fleece, was established on the property ‘calool’, near Manilla, in northern nsW, in 1972. it was built on ‘Haddon Rig’ bloodlines by Peter’s parents Geoff and enid; his father had just left ‘Haddon Rig’ as stud manager. the stud now consists of 2,200 breeding ewes and is run by Peter, his wife Lou, and Peter’s mother enid, with one permanent staff member and casual labour. ‘Bungulla’ has up to 50 clients, comprising about 60 per cent of the overall farm operation. the rest is ‘Bungulla shorthorn stud’ and a commercial cattle and cropping operation. Peter’s father had initially intended the stud to be a small concern, supplying a few rams to neighbours in the area, but when Peter showed enthusiasm, his father decided to increase commitment to the stud. ‘Bungulla’ aims to breed a complete package that is early maturing and has as much good wool as it can economically carry. the capels see it as crucial that sheep are bred to handle the environments clients might run them in. Peter believes the ‘micron madness’ of the late 1990s and early 2000s is over, due to incidences of low-micron sheep not tolerating certain environments. instead, he says the protein side of the Merino equation is now important, although he considers that Merinos have not been given a chance to show their meat potential. in the past six years, Peter’s Merino lambs have averaged $82 and only once in that time were they sold to a re-stocker – every other time they were sold for meat – indicating that meat potential does exist. ‘Bungulla’ was placed second in the show’s performance class, which is judged on meat and fibre, something that Peter was very pleased with, given the ram was considered to have the show’s number-one carcase. “nothing grows fibre like a Merino, and the meat side is easily able to compete with introduced dual-purpose breeds,” he says, also commenting on how he can get a Merino lamb to market specification on less than a bag of oats. Peter was pleased with the results of their on-farm sale this year, and says the stud is seeing good growth in western nsW clients. “We’ve picked up two new clients in the Goodooga area this year, and we think that’s because the performance of ‘Bungulla’ sheep is starting to come through.” More information: Peter Capel, 02 6785 7345 lou and peter Capel believe strongly in putting their stud, ‘bungulla’, to the test via sheep and fleece competitions. they are pictured here with a ‘bungulla’ fleece that won the Champion australasian fleece of 2006. Comes first Although delighted with his win at the 2008 Rabobank National Merino Sheep Show, stud principal Peter Capel says consistency is the true prize orthern nsW Merino stud ‘Bungulla’ was a big winner at dubbo’s 2008 Rabobank national Merino sheep show – an opportunity teaChing our B 15 agriCultural teaChers NSW high school agriculture teachers visit AWI’s Falkiner Memorial Field Station iennially, the nsW Association of Agriculture teachers convenes during a school holiday break to learn about the latest innovations in agriculture. in 2008, 37 teachers gathered at deniliquin for a three-day conference, with the aim, says conference co-ordinator Robyn O’Leary, of highlighting the positive aspects of agricultural industries in the Riverina, and of promoting the area as an important food bowl. “We also wanted to create an awareness of the reliance and ingenuity of agricultural people in what is an unpredictable environment,” she says. Robyn worked with deniliquin-based agriculture teacher Peter Humphries to pull the event together. At the Falkiner Memorial Field station, just outside deniliquin – which is home to a research flock that is feeding data into AWi’s sheepGenomics program – the group was met by station staff and AWi program manager for on-farm research Lu Hogan. Lu spoke about the work being undertaken at the station, the sheepGenomics program and mulesing alternatives. “the teachers were really interested in the research projects AWi was committed to, but perhaps most interesting was hearing their ideas on how they were teaching high school students about the wool industry,” Lu says. “they were most appreciative of the fact that AWi had plenty of resources to help them in their teaching.” Robyn says the most interesting aspect of the Falkiner visit was seeing the wool industry’s technology. “the mid-side sampling technique used for the genomic research was interesting, as every sample is barcoded and loaded straight onto the computer, so there was no chance of losing data,” she says. “We watched the automatic – riChard anderson drafting system in action, where the user programs the drafting criteria, and the sheep can be drafted into six different mobs … as they passed through the scanner, their barcodes are read and, again, the information is recorded [onto a] computer.” the teachers also visited the Mccaughey Memorial institute to learn about rice growing research; Murray irrigation to hear about the impact of reduced water allocations; a fencing demonstration with Waratah’s fencing expert neville Prince; and were involved in a session on preparing steers for showing. On the final day, the group travelled south to learn about the dairy industry, with a visit to a rotary dairy and the Murray Goulburn facility. “the opportunity [to] see, firsthand the effects of the continuing drought and lack of water, along with the importance of the Riverina to agricultural production, was invaluable,” Robyn says. “the teachers are now well-armed, and inspired with relevant and up-to-date information to take back to their classes, which will hopefully influence the futures of the students.” More information: Robyn O’Leary, firstname.lastname@example.org – Kellie penfold the nsw association of agriculture teachers group learn about the australian merino industry at falkiner memorial field station. ian evans, awi's blowfly control project manager, at the falkiner memorial research station with agriculture teacher Carl Chirgwin from griffith high school. PHOtO: cAROL-Ann MALOUF PHOtOs: cOURtesY ROBYn O’LeARY
Dec 08 - Jan 09
April May 2009