Sire evaluation field day to discuss fine wool future

Sheep Central, March 22, 2016
2015 drop lambs Tuloona, Harrow.

2015 drop lambs at Tuloona, Harrow.

WOOL growers can inspect the progeny of leading Merino sires, get a mulesing research update and question market experts on fine wool’s future at an Elders Balmoral Sire Evaluation Group field day in western Victoria on April 8.

The fine wool Merino forum at the trial property of the Mepungah Pastoral Company at Wannon will follow displays of sire progeny groups at Mepungah and Tuloona at Harrow.

The panel discussion from 5.30-7pm will feature industry experts discussing influences on the current wool market, its outlook and how the fine wool Merino sheep and its wool fits into the marketplace.

It will also include analysis of commercial farming operations and the business reality of including Merino wool production in a farming operation. The session will conclude with a panel question and answer session with the audience.

Panel speakers will include chairman of the International Wool Textile Organisation’s Market Intelligence Committee and National Council of Wool Selling Brokers of Australia executive director Chris Wilcox; NSW Department of Primary Industries livestock officer Phillip Graham; Australian Merino Exports director Chris Kelly, and; Mecardo managing director Robert Herrmann. Australian Wool Innovation communications manager Marius Cuming will facilitate the discussion.

The field day will begin with an on-property display of the 2015 trial progeny at host property, Tuloona, at 4580 Coleraine-Harrow Road, Harrow, from 10am-noon. This will include 25 sire evaluation progeny groups of 2015 drop ewe progeny, with post weaner fleece tests, weaning weights and marking scores.

These ewes will be evaluated for five joinings in the first Merino Ewe Lifetime Productivity Trial. There will also be a static display of the AWI/Australian Merino Sire Evaluation Association Merino Ewe Lifetime Productivity Trial. MLP national project manager Anne Ramsay will be available at Tuloona to discuss the project.

Afternoon at Mepungah

After the Tuloona displays, the field day will continue at the Mepungah Pastoral Company, 112 Falkenbergs Road at Wannon from noon, starting with a barbecue lunch and then display inspections and demonstrations until 1.30pm.

From 1.30-3.30pm, there will be a series of speakers after a welcome by AMSEA chairman Tom Silcock. Veterinarian John Steinfort will give an update on liquid nitrogen mulesing options, National Merino Lifetime Productivity Project manager Anne Ramsay will outline the initiative and AWI’s Marcus Mojass will report on electronic sheep tag research. AgLive’s Tim Button and Steve Baker will outline the integration of tracking and traceability using cloud-based software to capture and share livestock information across the supply network and with end consumers.

The speakers will be followed by inspection of the 20 Sire Evaluation progeny groups of the 2014 drop with pre-shearing fleece measurements and classing results displayed. Static and working displays will include sheep handling equipment, animal health products, livestock health companies and ancillary service providers with a focus on new technologies and enhancing the working environment on-farm when handling livestock. ‘

Forum to give fine wool reality check

A barbecue tea and refreshments at 5pm will precede the ‘Future of the Fine Wool Merino’ speaker panel.

Mr Silcock said in the week prior to the field day, 2205 ewes will be inseminated to 25 new sires for the lifetime productivity project.

“Speakers during the afternoon will address a wide range of topics including the development and opportunities of virtual fencing, ear tags which have the ability to track animals, provide pedigree and even perhaps give a birth date for progeny,” he said.

Mr Silcock said the fine wool industry has been treated as the poor farming cousin by many in recent times, but the strong line-up of speakers will outline fine wool’s future from an international and a wool buyer/processor perspective, examining the economical performances and comparisons for farming operations.

“This forum that is being sponsored by AWI will help to bring some reality to the factors influencing choices for producers in our industry.”

Mr Silcock said due to additional analysis required, the first MLP ewe progeny on display at Tuloona this year, will already have post weaner classing and fleece measurement analysis.

“Don’t miss the 45 groups of progeny being displayed throughout the day, showcasing the progeny of some of our best national sires selected for their extreme traits in commercial comparison with one another.

“The excitement and the potential power of the new MLP trials now underway at our site and across the nation, combined with industry innovation will be showcased for all to witness on the 8th of April,” he said.

Click here for an update on the Tuloona trial sheep.

Click here for an update on the Mepungah trial sheep.


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