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Beyond the Bale : June 2011
June 2011 BEYOND THE BALE 30 ON-FARM The first wool assessment in the Peter Westblade Memorial Challenge (PWMMC) was undertaken in April 2011. The PWMMC, which incorporates a Wool Challenge and a Meat Challenge, aims to address the growing interest in the carcase traits of young Merinos whilst still maintaining a focus on wool traits. The PWMMC commenced in April 2010 with a total of 1500 wethers. The Challenge had 50 teams of 30 wethers from across Australia that were randomly allocated into a Meat Challenge and a Wool Challenge. The 750 Meat Challenge wether lambs were put through a Riverina feedlot and processed at Fletcher International Exports Dubbo in August 2010. The results were reported in the March 2011 edition of Beyond the Bale. The remaining 750 Wool Challenge wethers, 15 from each of the 50 teams have been running together at the Temora Agricultural Research and Advisory Station NSW since April 2010 as a standard wether trail to assess key wool traits and fleece and mutton value. The wethers were re-shorn in April 2011. The second shearing will be in April 2012. Craig Wilson & Associates and Moses & Son woolbrokers along with flock entrants have been the driving force behind the PWMMC, with NSW Department of Primary Industries sheep and wool officers playing an integral part, overseeing the tens of thousands of measurements and data processing. RESULTS The wool income results in Table 1, based on the five year average wool price, show the importance of getting the mix right between high fleece weight and low fibre diameter to maximise wool income. Increasing wool income per head is achieved by bending the normal antagonistic correlation between fibre diameter and fleece weight. The teams ranked in the top 10 have been able to reduce fibre diameter and increase fleece weight compared with the lower grouped teams. There was little difference in body weight, staple strength, staple length and mutton value between the teams grouped in the 20 percentile bands (ie groups of teamsranked1to10,11to20,21to30,31to 40 and 41 to 50) ranked on total wool value. The April 2011 wool value ($62.68/head) was 67 per cent higher than the five year average wool market value ($37.46/head). FAST FACTS l The Peter Westblade Memorial Merino Challenge aims to examine both the meat and wool components of the entrants' teams. lResults from the Wool Challenge show the importance of getting the mix right between high fleece weight and low diameter to maximise wool income. l There were teams that had both high wool and high meat value. Peter Westblade Memorial Meri TABLE 1. TEAMS RANKED ON WOOL VALUE PER HEAD (FIVE YEAR AVERAGE WOOL MARKET) PERCENTILE GROUPS TEAM RANKING MICRON DEV GREASY FLEECE WEIGHT DEV CLEAN FLEECE WEIGHT DEV BODY WEIGHT DEV STAPLE LENGTH DEV STAPLE STRENGTH DEV $ WOOL VALUE 5 YR MARKET UNIT MICRON % % % MM N/KTEX $/HEAD TEAMS RANKED 1 TO 10 -0.7 108% 108% 102% +0.2 +1.4 +$6.36 TEAMS RANKED 11 TO 20 +0.3 108% 109% 102% +1.4 -0.5 +$1.90 TEAMS RANKED 21 TO 30 -0.2 98% 98% 100% +1.0 -1.0 -$0.38 TEAMS RANKED 31 TO 40 -0.4 94% 93% 97% -2.5 -0.7 -$2.17 TEAMS RANKED 41 TO 50 +1.0 92% 93% 99% -0.1 +0.7 -$5.17 AVERAGES 18.9 6.3 3.9 51.6 99 25.0 $37.46 TABLE 2. TEAMS RANKED ON MUTTON VALUE (FIVE YEAR AVERAGE MUTTON MARKET) PERCENTILE GROUPS TEAM RANKING MICRON DEV GREASY FLEECE WEIGHT DEV CLEAN FLEECE WEIGHT DEV BODY WEIGHT DEV STAPLE LENGTH DEV STAPLE STRENGTH DEV $ WOOL VALUE 5 YR MARKET UNIT MICRON % % % MM N/KTEX $/HEAD TEAMS RANKED 1 TO 10 +0.8 107% 108% 112% +3.7 +1.2 +$0.06 TEAMS RANKED 11 TO 20 -0.2 101% 101% 105% +1.5 -0.4 +$0.83 TEAMS RANKED 21 TO 30 +0.4 102% 103% 100% +1.4 +0.2 +$0.32 TEAMS RANKED 31 TO 40 -0.3 99% 97% 95% -3.8 -1.3 -$0.11 TEAMS RANKED 41 TO 50 -0.6 92% 91% 89% -2.8 +0.3 -$1.10 AVERAGES 18.9 6.3 3.9 51.6 99 25.0 $37.46