News http://merinos.com.au/news 2018-04-18T11:21:03+00:00 AASMB marion@merinos.com.au Merino Success Story - Ian and Camilla Shippen 2017-11-25T05:59:00+00:00 2017-11-25T05:59:00+00:00 http://merinos.com.au/news/315-merino-success-story-shippen Super User marion@merinos.com.au <p><img src="http://merinos.com.au/images/success_stories/ian_shippen.jpg" alt="ian shippen" /></p> <p><strong>Case study - The Australian Merino as a profitable enterprise</strong></p> <p><strong>Farmers</strong>: Ian and Camilla Shippen</p> <p><strong>Location</strong>: Moulamein and Wagga Wagga</p> <p><strong>Property size</strong>: 105,000 hectares total</p> <p><strong>Average annual rainfall</strong>: 330mm (Moulamein) 500mm (Wagga Wagga)</p> <p><strong>Why Merinos?&nbsp;My top three reasons</strong></p> <p>1. Merinos are a simple, low cost, profitable operation.</p> <p>2. We enjoy the challenge of trying better ourselves and find more ways to improve and breed a profitable sheep each year.</p> <p>3. Merinos work within our environment, our natural landscape and its about looking after our country and getting the best out of it.</p> <p>WHEN Moulamein farmer Ian Shippen drifts off to sleep each night, he rests easy, knowing his sheep will have grown him seven more bales of wool by the morning.<br />It’s a comforting thought for the passionate Merino producer, who has poured over the sums for many years and worked out early in his career that wool is a consistent winner.</p> <p>Averaged over 52 weeks, the Shippen family’s 44,000 self-replacing Merino flock fill around 7 bales per day, essentially culminating in over 2600 bales per year and a very efficient operation.</p> <p>It’s always been about getting the most from their Merinos for Ian and wife Camilla, who are big supporters of the Australian Association of Stud Merino Breeder’s (AASMB) latest Breed More Merino Ewes campaign.</p> <p>In order to build their own Merino ewe numbers, the Shippen’s have spent many years gradually expanding their enterprise through buying and selling property, taking some big risks and shifting further afield from irrigated areas to more pastoral plains.</p> <p>From the very beginning of their farming career, the Shippen’s wanted to run a thriving large-scale Merino operation and set about building that dream by initially purchasing the modest 1821 hectare family farm ‘Banyandah’ from Ian’s parents.</p> <p>They were young, enthusiastic and driven to succeed, eventually increasing their landholding to its current total of 105,000ha, majority of which is situated in the Hay Plains of New South Wales, with 5700ha of it located at Wagga Wagga.</p> <p>“When I left school I did a lot of sheep husbandry around the place and got a feel for what makes a good Merino,” Ian said.</p> <p>“The bottom line was, we wanted to run a profitable Merino operation, so we took some big risks to do that.</p> <p>“We bought and sold a lot of country, grew rice, traded water licences and expanded into predominantly pastoral areas.</p> <p>“There’s no exact science to breeding top quality wool on sheep, but everyone seems to be looking for a computer program to find the perfect formula.</p> <p>“You need to physically look at, touch and closely study thousands of sheep and ask the question, what is a productive sheep?</p> <p>“There’s a lot of knowledge and skills disappearing from the wool industry along with our older generation of sheep farmers, and we really need to tap into that before all of that knowledge is lost.</p> <p>“I have been very fortunate to learn a lot of what I know about sheep from the older generation.”</p> <p>So much so, that when Ian purchased a retiring Bob Simpson’s sheep back in 2001, the two like-minded producers realised they shared the same vision of a productive and profitable Merino, and Mr Simpson has classed the Banyandah flock ever since.</p> <p>When asked about the intricacies of his Merino operation, Ian said he keeps it very simple, only handling his flock of 30,000 Merino ewes at Banyandah three times a year, and running to a strict annual schedule.</p> <p>He has a similar approach to the additional 14,000 Merino ewes residing at the Wagga Wagga property, consisting of 5-year-olds and overflow younger ewes that are joined to Poll Dorset rams.</p> <p>Ian’s golden rule is to run his sheep program to a precise calendar, kicking off between Christmas and New Years’ Eve, when his rams are joined with the ewes for a 14 week mating period.</p> <p>The longer than usual joining works within this system, as the Shippens pregnancy scan the ewes in April, while simultaneously removing the rams.</p> <p>Those ewes that scanned empty are then pregnancy tested six weeks later, and Ian said around 50pc of those late joiners scan pregnant.</p> <p>When the later lambs arrive, they are weaned quite early and sent to the Wagga Wagga property to grow out, in an effort to let the mothers recover and fall back into line with the main ewe mobs for the next joining.</p> <p>Rams are bred on-farm as part of the Shippen’s Merino stud, which consists of 3500 ewes from around six different families, with fresh bloodlines arriving annually after Ian purchases three or four new sires.</p> <p>Those April scanned ewes achieve between 90-95 per cent conception rate, and of those scanned ewes, their lambing percentage consistently reaches between 120-125pc.<br />During the last week of July, the second big sheep husbandry event on the Shippen’s calendar occurs when the ewes and lambs are brought into the yards to undertake several jobs, all at the one time.</p> <p>The third and final event occurs in the third week of October, when the gigantic task of shearing 55,000 grown sheep, 40,000 lambs across all of Ian and Camilla’s operations gets underway.</p> <p>The scale of the event does not intimidate Ian, a true wool enthusiast, who revels in watching his 21 micron wool clip be shorn and packed into more than 2600 bales.</p> <p>“Wool is very important to our operation and making our numbers work,” Ian said.</p> <p>“Fifty per cent of our gross profit is attributed to wool, and we sell 40,000 sheep a year to make up the remaining fifty per cent of our income.</p> <p>“I’m very passionate about wool; you really can have a profitable dual-purpose animal, and that is the Merino sheep.</p> <p>“First and foremost, when we select our breeding stock, we look for size and staple length.</p> <p>“I love big back ends on sheep, because it gives you another kilo or so of wool without compromising fertility, and that is the key.</p> <p>“What fertility and wool cut comes down to is keeping your ewes in good condition, and that means feeding them in February on the assumption that autumn is going to fail.</p> <p>“We budget on spending $5 a year per ewe on feed, just to be prepared for the lulls.</p> <p>“That’s also why lambing percentage has never been an issue for us, we’ve always worked on being proactive rather that reactive when it comes to feed supply and ewe condition.”</p> <p>Ewes in good condition inherently produce more healthy lambs, but also plenty of top quality wool, so when Ian talks about wool characteristics, he looks for a big, bold crimping, free-growing fleece with plenty of lustre.</p> <p>With majority of their operation centred in pastoral country, the Shippens tend to understock their land, primarily suited to livestock rather than cropping.</p> <p>However, to maintain the delicate synergy that exists between the natural pastoral landscape of perennial grasses and livestock, the family have sewn over one million saltbush plants to restore health to the soil and provide an alternative feed source.</p> <p>As for any future plans, Ian said their large-scale Merino operation suits their pastoral area perfectly and they won’t be making drastic changes any time soon.</p> <p>“I would dearly love to run a wether operation, purely to indulge myself and grow more wool,” Ian said.</p> <p>“But I still think a self-replacing Merino flock is the most profitable operation for us, than any other breed mix.</p> <p>“In the pastoral zone, we look at the production per unit, not per hectare, as in the higher rainfall areas, because we have to take care of our country.</p> <p>“The land is too fragile, so we have to breed the most productive unit we can, rather than looking at things like DSE per hectare.</p> <p>“At the end of the day, we set out to breed good sheep with plenty of wool, good fertility and keep it very simple, just perhaps on a larger scale than most.”</p> <p><strong>This case study is part of the Breed More Merino Ewes campaign, demonstrating the unrivalled performance of the Australian Merino.&nbsp;To read other case studies or to find out more information, go to www.merinos.com.au.</strong></p> <p><em>By CAITLYN BURLING</em></p> <p><em>&nbsp;</em></p> <p><strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <p><img src="images/success_stories/ian_shippen.jpg" alt="ian shippen" /></p> <p><strong>Case study - The Australian Merino as a profitable enterprise</strong></p> <p><strong>Farmers</strong>: Ian and Camilla Shippen</p> <p><strong>Location</strong>: Moulamein and Wagga Wagga</p> <p><strong>Property size</strong>: 105,000 hectares total</p> <p><strong>Average annual rainfall</strong>: 330mm (Moulamein) 500mm (Wagga Wagga)</p> <p><strong>Why Merinos?&nbsp;My top three reasons</strong></p> <p>1. Merinos are a simple, low cost, profitable operation.</p> <p>2. We enjoy the challenge of trying better ourselves and find more ways to improve and breed a profitable sheep each year.</p> <p>3. Merinos work within our environment, our natural landscape and its about looking after our country and getting the best out of it.</p> <p>WHEN Moulamein farmer Ian Shippen drifts off to sleep each night, he rests easy, knowing his sheep will have grown him seven more bales of wool by the morning.<br />It’s a comforting thought for the passionate Merino producer, who has poured over the sums for many years and worked out early in his career that wool is a consistent winner.</p> <p>Averaged over 52 weeks, the Shippen family’s 44,000 self-replacing Merino flock fill around 7 bales per day, essentially culminating in over 2600 bales per year and a very efficient operation.</p> <p>It’s always been about getting the most from their Merinos for Ian and wife Camilla, who are big supporters of the Australian Association of Stud Merino Breeder’s (AASMB) latest Breed More Merino Ewes campaign.</p> <p>In order to build their own Merino ewe numbers, the Shippen’s have spent many years gradually expanding their enterprise through buying and selling property, taking some big risks and shifting further afield from irrigated areas to more pastoral plains.</p> <p>From the very beginning of their farming career, the Shippen’s wanted to run a thriving large-scale Merino operation and set about building that dream by initially purchasing the modest 1821 hectare family farm ‘Banyandah’ from Ian’s parents.</p> <p>They were young, enthusiastic and driven to succeed, eventually increasing their landholding to its current total of 105,000ha, majority of which is situated in the Hay Plains of New South Wales, with 5700ha of it located at Wagga Wagga.</p> <p>“When I left school I did a lot of sheep husbandry around the place and got a feel for what makes a good Merino,” Ian said.</p> <p>“The bottom line was, we wanted to run a profitable Merino operation, so we took some big risks to do that.</p> <p>“We bought and sold a lot of country, grew rice, traded water licences and expanded into predominantly pastoral areas.</p> <p>“There’s no exact science to breeding top quality wool on sheep, but everyone seems to be looking for a computer program to find the perfect formula.</p> <p>“You need to physically look at, touch and closely study thousands of sheep and ask the question, what is a productive sheep?</p> <p>“There’s a lot of knowledge and skills disappearing from the wool industry along with our older generation of sheep farmers, and we really need to tap into that before all of that knowledge is lost.</p> <p>“I have been very fortunate to learn a lot of what I know about sheep from the older generation.”</p> <p>So much so, that when Ian purchased a retiring Bob Simpson’s sheep back in 2001, the two like-minded producers realised they shared the same vision of a productive and profitable Merino, and Mr Simpson has classed the Banyandah flock ever since.</p> <p>When asked about the intricacies of his Merino operation, Ian said he keeps it very simple, only handling his flock of 30,000 Merino ewes at Banyandah three times a year, and running to a strict annual schedule.</p> <p>He has a similar approach to the additional 14,000 Merino ewes residing at the Wagga Wagga property, consisting of 5-year-olds and overflow younger ewes that are joined to Poll Dorset rams.</p> <p>Ian’s golden rule is to run his sheep program to a precise calendar, kicking off between Christmas and New Years’ Eve, when his rams are joined with the ewes for a 14 week mating period.</p> <p>The longer than usual joining works within this system, as the Shippens pregnancy scan the ewes in April, while simultaneously removing the rams.</p> <p>Those ewes that scanned empty are then pregnancy tested six weeks later, and Ian said around 50pc of those late joiners scan pregnant.</p> <p>When the later lambs arrive, they are weaned quite early and sent to the Wagga Wagga property to grow out, in an effort to let the mothers recover and fall back into line with the main ewe mobs for the next joining.</p> <p>Rams are bred on-farm as part of the Shippen’s Merino stud, which consists of 3500 ewes from around six different families, with fresh bloodlines arriving annually after Ian purchases three or four new sires.</p> <p>Those April scanned ewes achieve between 90-95 per cent conception rate, and of those scanned ewes, their lambing percentage consistently reaches between 120-125pc.<br />During the last week of July, the second big sheep husbandry event on the Shippen’s calendar occurs when the ewes and lambs are brought into the yards to undertake several jobs, all at the one time.</p> <p>The third and final event occurs in the third week of October, when the gigantic task of shearing 55,000 grown sheep, 40,000 lambs across all of Ian and Camilla’s operations gets underway.</p> <p>The scale of the event does not intimidate Ian, a true wool enthusiast, who revels in watching his 21 micron wool clip be shorn and packed into more than 2600 bales.</p> <p>“Wool is very important to our operation and making our numbers work,” Ian said.</p> <p>“Fifty per cent of our gross profit is attributed to wool, and we sell 40,000 sheep a year to make up the remaining fifty per cent of our income.</p> <p>“I’m very passionate about wool; you really can have a profitable dual-purpose animal, and that is the Merino sheep.</p> <p>“First and foremost, when we select our breeding stock, we look for size and staple length.</p> <p>“I love big back ends on sheep, because it gives you another kilo or so of wool without compromising fertility, and that is the key.</p> <p>“What fertility and wool cut comes down to is keeping your ewes in good condition, and that means feeding them in February on the assumption that autumn is going to fail.</p> <p>“We budget on spending $5 a year per ewe on feed, just to be prepared for the lulls.</p> <p>“That’s also why lambing percentage has never been an issue for us, we’ve always worked on being proactive rather that reactive when it comes to feed supply and ewe condition.”</p> <p>Ewes in good condition inherently produce more healthy lambs, but also plenty of top quality wool, so when Ian talks about wool characteristics, he looks for a big, bold crimping, free-growing fleece with plenty of lustre.</p> <p>With majority of their operation centred in pastoral country, the Shippens tend to understock their land, primarily suited to livestock rather than cropping.</p> <p>However, to maintain the delicate synergy that exists between the natural pastoral landscape of perennial grasses and livestock, the family have sewn over one million saltbush plants to restore health to the soil and provide an alternative feed source.</p> <p>As for any future plans, Ian said their large-scale Merino operation suits their pastoral area perfectly and they won’t be making drastic changes any time soon.</p> <p>“I would dearly love to run a wether operation, purely to indulge myself and grow more wool,” Ian said.</p> <p>“But I still think a self-replacing Merino flock is the most profitable operation for us, than any other breed mix.</p> <p>“In the pastoral zone, we look at the production per unit, not per hectare, as in the higher rainfall areas, because we have to take care of our country.</p> <p>“The land is too fragile, so we have to breed the most productive unit we can, rather than looking at things like DSE per hectare.</p> <p>“At the end of the day, we set out to breed good sheep with plenty of wool, good fertility and keep it very simple, just perhaps on a larger scale than most.”</p> <p><strong>This case study is part of the Breed More Merino Ewes campaign, demonstrating the unrivalled performance of the Australian Merino.&nbsp;To read other case studies or to find out more information, go to www.merinos.com.au.</strong></p> <p><em>By CAITLYN BURLING</em></p> <p><em>&nbsp;</em></p> <p><strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> Merino Success Story - Craig Hickman 2017-11-15T05:59:00+00:00 2017-11-15T05:59:00+00:00 http://merinos.com.au/news/314-merino-success-story-craig-hickman Super User marion@merinos.com.au <p><img src="http://merinos.com.au/images/success_stories/craig_hickman.jpg" alt="craig hickman" /></p> <p><strong>Case study - The Australian Merino as a profitable enterprise</strong></p> <p><strong>Farmers</strong>:&nbsp;Craig and Abigail Hickman</p> <p><strong>Location</strong>:&nbsp;Curramulka, Yorke Peninsula, South Australia</p> <p><strong>Property size</strong>: 777ha</p> <p><strong>Average annual rainfall</strong>: 418mm</p> <p><strong>Enterprise mix</strong>: 75 per cent cropping and 25 per cent self-replacing Merino flock</p> <p><strong>Why Merinos?</strong></p> <p><em>1 Profitability</em> – Gross margin returns in the past four years have averaged $49/DSE</p> <p><em>2 Sustainability</em> – Merinos work in well with the cropping system, with grazing management changed to utilise stubble feed and retain groundcover, especially in sandier paddocks</p> <p><em>3 Direct sales</em> – Lambs achieve steady growth rates of 250-300 grams a day, averaging $6.15/kg carcaseweight over-hooks at 51-52kg liveweight, equivalent to 24.3kg dressweight at at six-months-old, sold in January 2017</p> <p><strong>Merinos a vital part of enterprise mix at Curramulka</strong></p> <p>MERINOS are a vital part of the enterprise mix at Craig and Abigail Hickman’s Curramulka property Seaview, on the Yorke Peninsula, South Australia, producing $130 per winter grazed hectare per 100mm of growing season rainfall in 2016.</p> <p>The Hickmans run 400 head of Merino ewes alongside a 600ha annual cropping program of wheat, barley, beans, lentils, vetch and peas. The flock is benchmarked each year with 2016-17 figures showing a gross margin per DSE of $91 and $393 per winter grazed hectare.</p> <p>Improving their self-replacing Merino flock has been a key focus for the past decade, with the Hickmans working with Cousins Merino Services consultant Paul Cousins and Landmark animal production specialist Daniel Schuppan to target higher returns.</p> <p>“At the end of the day Merinos are a very profitable animal and are easy to manage and handle, especially in comparison to crossbred lambs,” Craig said.</p> <p>Using a consultant has helped Craig to tailor his enterprise to focus on productivity and marketing, which has resulted in a steady increase in profitability. Gross margin returns in the past four years have averaged $49 per DSE but it has taken four years to get the system right and 2016-17 season produced outstanding results of $91.80 per DSE.<br />A pasture seeding program implemented in sandier paddocks, to ensure better feed for the Merino flock has also helped to boost productivity.</p> <p>“My gross margins are perhaps not as high as they could be because I drill feed every year for pastures,” Craig said. “But, it ensures I have better stock feed and need to spend less on grain and hay. It also means I can control problem weeds such as cape weed in these paddocks.”</p> <p>Craig supports the Australian Association of Stud Merino Breeders Breed More Merino Ewes campaign because he believes the self-replacing Merino flock is a productive and profitable enterprise.</p> <p>“They are a profitable, dual-purpose enterprise which ties in well with my cropping program,” he said.</p> <p>“I also find they are very easy to manage and handle.”</p> <p><strong>Lambs sold direct</strong></p> <p>Targeting liveweights of 51 to 52 kilograms, the last lambs Craig sold at the end of January 2017 averaged $6.15 a kilogram carcaseweight.</p> <p>Lambs drop at the end of June, , then steadily grow at rates of 250-300 grams a day. Lambs are weaned onto vetch pastures and fed grain, either lupins, beans or barley, then move onto bean stubbles, as soon as these are available.</p> <p>They are shorn in December to early January, with a selection of ewe lambs marketed on AuctionPlus by Anthony Bray from Quality Livestock. “The remainder of lambs are sold on-the-hooks direct to the processor,” Craig said.</p> <p>“They are discounted in comparison to crossbred lambs but if you add it up, you can cut 2kg of wool at $9/kg then that’s $18 a head, less shearing and handling costs, plus skin prices, so the price isn’t too far off crossbreds with a wool clip factored in. It works well in my eyes.”</p> <p><strong>Wool clip targeted</strong></p> <p>Since deciding to focus on improving his Merino flock, wool cut is targeted, with the flock now averaging 8 kilograms of 20.5 to 21 microns of greasy wool per head. Wool is sold through Landmark’s Carmel Parsons via the auction system, with a reserve in place, last year it topped at 1122 cents a kilogram greasy for lamb’s wool, ewes made 1047c/kg for greasy wool in January 2017.</p> <p>“I had frame but I needed more wool cut, so with the help of Paul I looked to target staple length, wool cut, growth rates and body size,” Craig said.</p> <p>“To fast track development in ewes the flock was initially heavily culled. Paul selects and purchases rams on our behalf to match the requirements we’re after.</p> <p>“There is a lot more nourishment in the wool, the growth rates are there and the rams are paddock hardy.”</p> <p><strong>Sustainable soils through good grazing management</strong></p> <p>Soils vary considerably at Seaview, from non-wetting sands to loam, grey, heavy cracking clays and limestone, so sheep fit well into the mix, giving the Hickman’s the ability to graze sandy soils that cannot be cropped.</p> <p>Crop stubbles form an important part of the flock diet.</p> <p>Craig has worked with Daniel to set a sustainable stocking rate, shifting his flock every three to four days (except during lambing) to ensure groundcover is retained, especially in sandier soils. Paddock sizes are kept to about 30ha, with the ewes run as one mob of 400 head. Craig said keeping paddocks to this size also had an additional benefit to his cropping program.</p> <p>“I work by myself and this size paddock seems to work well for me. I know how long it will take me to get around the paddock, and it seems to be much more efficient,” he said.</p> <p>During lambing ewes are split into smaller mobs of about 180 to 200 head, in 2015-16 ewes averaged a lambing percentage of 115. In the past four years the lambing percentage has averaged 111%.</p> <p><strong>This story is part of a series of case studies as part of the Australian Association of Stud Merino Breeders’ Breed More Merino Ewes campaign. The campaign aims to show producers just how viable the Australian Merino is in a farming enterprise. More information and case studies are available at www.merinos.com.au</strong></p> <p><strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <p><img src="images/success_stories/craig_hickman.jpg" alt="craig hickman" /></p> <p><strong>Case study - The Australian Merino as a profitable enterprise</strong></p> <p><strong>Farmers</strong>:&nbsp;Craig and Abigail Hickman</p> <p><strong>Location</strong>:&nbsp;Curramulka, Yorke Peninsula, South Australia</p> <p><strong>Property size</strong>: 777ha</p> <p><strong>Average annual rainfall</strong>: 418mm</p> <p><strong>Enterprise mix</strong>: 75 per cent cropping and 25 per cent self-replacing Merino flock</p> <p><strong>Why Merinos?</strong></p> <p><em>1 Profitability</em> – Gross margin returns in the past four years have averaged $49/DSE</p> <p><em>2 Sustainability</em> – Merinos work in well with the cropping system, with grazing management changed to utilise stubble feed and retain groundcover, especially in sandier paddocks</p> <p><em>3 Direct sales</em> – Lambs achieve steady growth rates of 250-300 grams a day, averaging $6.15/kg carcaseweight over-hooks at 51-52kg liveweight, equivalent to 24.3kg dressweight at at six-months-old, sold in January 2017</p> <p><strong>Merinos a vital part of enterprise mix at Curramulka</strong></p> <p>MERINOS are a vital part of the enterprise mix at Craig and Abigail Hickman’s Curramulka property Seaview, on the Yorke Peninsula, South Australia, producing $130 per winter grazed hectare per 100mm of growing season rainfall in 2016.</p> <p>The Hickmans run 400 head of Merino ewes alongside a 600ha annual cropping program of wheat, barley, beans, lentils, vetch and peas. The flock is benchmarked each year with 2016-17 figures showing a gross margin per DSE of $91 and $393 per winter grazed hectare.</p> <p>Improving their self-replacing Merino flock has been a key focus for the past decade, with the Hickmans working with Cousins Merino Services consultant Paul Cousins and Landmark animal production specialist Daniel Schuppan to target higher returns.</p> <p>“At the end of the day Merinos are a very profitable animal and are easy to manage and handle, especially in comparison to crossbred lambs,” Craig said.</p> <p>Using a consultant has helped Craig to tailor his enterprise to focus on productivity and marketing, which has resulted in a steady increase in profitability. Gross margin returns in the past four years have averaged $49 per DSE but it has taken four years to get the system right and 2016-17 season produced outstanding results of $91.80 per DSE.<br />A pasture seeding program implemented in sandier paddocks, to ensure better feed for the Merino flock has also helped to boost productivity.</p> <p>“My gross margins are perhaps not as high as they could be because I drill feed every year for pastures,” Craig said. “But, it ensures I have better stock feed and need to spend less on grain and hay. It also means I can control problem weeds such as cape weed in these paddocks.”</p> <p>Craig supports the Australian Association of Stud Merino Breeders Breed More Merino Ewes campaign because he believes the self-replacing Merino flock is a productive and profitable enterprise.</p> <p>“They are a profitable, dual-purpose enterprise which ties in well with my cropping program,” he said.</p> <p>“I also find they are very easy to manage and handle.”</p> <p><strong>Lambs sold direct</strong></p> <p>Targeting liveweights of 51 to 52 kilograms, the last lambs Craig sold at the end of January 2017 averaged $6.15 a kilogram carcaseweight.</p> <p>Lambs drop at the end of June, , then steadily grow at rates of 250-300 grams a day. Lambs are weaned onto vetch pastures and fed grain, either lupins, beans or barley, then move onto bean stubbles, as soon as these are available.</p> <p>They are shorn in December to early January, with a selection of ewe lambs marketed on AuctionPlus by Anthony Bray from Quality Livestock. “The remainder of lambs are sold on-the-hooks direct to the processor,” Craig said.</p> <p>“They are discounted in comparison to crossbred lambs but if you add it up, you can cut 2kg of wool at $9/kg then that’s $18 a head, less shearing and handling costs, plus skin prices, so the price isn’t too far off crossbreds with a wool clip factored in. It works well in my eyes.”</p> <p><strong>Wool clip targeted</strong></p> <p>Since deciding to focus on improving his Merino flock, wool cut is targeted, with the flock now averaging 8 kilograms of 20.5 to 21 microns of greasy wool per head. Wool is sold through Landmark’s Carmel Parsons via the auction system, with a reserve in place, last year it topped at 1122 cents a kilogram greasy for lamb’s wool, ewes made 1047c/kg for greasy wool in January 2017.</p> <p>“I had frame but I needed more wool cut, so with the help of Paul I looked to target staple length, wool cut, growth rates and body size,” Craig said.</p> <p>“To fast track development in ewes the flock was initially heavily culled. Paul selects and purchases rams on our behalf to match the requirements we’re after.</p> <p>“There is a lot more nourishment in the wool, the growth rates are there and the rams are paddock hardy.”</p> <p><strong>Sustainable soils through good grazing management</strong></p> <p>Soils vary considerably at Seaview, from non-wetting sands to loam, grey, heavy cracking clays and limestone, so sheep fit well into the mix, giving the Hickman’s the ability to graze sandy soils that cannot be cropped.</p> <p>Crop stubbles form an important part of the flock diet.</p> <p>Craig has worked with Daniel to set a sustainable stocking rate, shifting his flock every three to four days (except during lambing) to ensure groundcover is retained, especially in sandier soils. Paddock sizes are kept to about 30ha, with the ewes run as one mob of 400 head. Craig said keeping paddocks to this size also had an additional benefit to his cropping program.</p> <p>“I work by myself and this size paddock seems to work well for me. I know how long it will take me to get around the paddock, and it seems to be much more efficient,” he said.</p> <p>During lambing ewes are split into smaller mobs of about 180 to 200 head, in 2015-16 ewes averaged a lambing percentage of 115. In the past four years the lambing percentage has averaged 111%.</p> <p><strong>This story is part of a series of case studies as part of the Australian Association of Stud Merino Breeders’ Breed More Merino Ewes campaign. The campaign aims to show producers just how viable the Australian Merino is in a farming enterprise. More information and case studies are available at www.merinos.com.au</strong></p> <p><strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> Merino Success Story - Daniel Schuppan 2017-10-04T04:59:11+00:00 2017-10-04T04:59:11+00:00 http://merinos.com.au/news/313-merino-success-story-daniel-schuppan Super User marion@merinos.com.au <p><img src="http://merinos.com.au/images/success_stories/Daniel-Schuppan.jpg" alt="Daniel Schuppan" /></p> <p><strong>Case study - The Australian Merino as a profitable enterprise</strong></p> <p><strong>Name</strong>: Daniel Schuppan</p> <p><strong>Company</strong>: Landmark</p> <p><strong>Position</strong>: Animal Production Specialist</p> <p><strong>Location</strong>: Jamestown, South Australia</p> <p><strong>Clients</strong>: Works with a mix of producers across SA, from mixed farms to 100 percent sheep and/or beef enterprises</p> <p></p> <p><strong>Why Merinos?</strong></p> <p>1 Flexibility – Merinos allow producers to target different markets in the meat and fibre sectors</p> <p>2 Profitability – In 2016 benchmarking figures, Merinos produced $60/DSE</p> <p>3 Adaptability – Merinos run in a range of environments – pastoral, cereal and higher-rainfall</p> <p><strong>Merinos offer flexible production fit on-farm in SA</strong></p> <p>MERINOS offer farmers a profitable option with the ability to produce a gross margin of up to $60 per dry sheep equivalent for self-replacing Merino flocks in the cereal zone according to 2016-17 Sheep’s Back Benchmarking Program figures, says Landmark Animal Production Specialist Daniel Schuppan.</p> <p>He says a Merino enterprise also provides flexibility, allowing producers to target different markets in the meat and fibre sectors.</p> <p>“We have a magnificent product in wool and meat, there are opportunities for producers to innovate, differentiate and engage consumers,” he said.</p> <p>Mr Schuppan, who works with producers across SA and runs several farm benchmarking groups, says current high prices for wool, meat and breeding ewes meant great returns for the Merino sector but you still need a good livestock system to “capture the good times”.</p> <p>“There’s good demand for wool, then on the meat side, producers have a range of options - running a self-replacing flock, finishing wether lambs or selling as stores, selling 1.5-year-old surplus breeders, selling cast-for-age ewes for mutton or joining all or some Merino ewes to British breed rams to produce a first cross lamb. There’s many options which enable Merinos to fit into a production system that best suits a producer’s management and farm capabilities,” he said.</p> <p>“Merino ewes can be joined all year round as there is less impact from day length on fertility so you can target them to lamb early and finish lambs on green feed or lamb later and finish on stubbles, irrigation or in a feedlot.</p> <p>“Whether it’s in the pastoral, cereal or even high rainfall zones, Merinos fit in well across the board and can adapt to a range of environments.”</p> <p>Mr Schuppan says two key factors in a self-replacing Merino enterprise are feed and genetics.</p> <p>“You need to focus on growing good quality feed and utilise as much as possible,” he said.</p> <p>“With genetics, it all comes down to setting breeding objectives for your flock, and then aligning them to a stud that fits.”</p> <p><strong>Breeding more Merino ewes</strong></p> <p>Mr Schuppan said current high replacement ewe prices had led some producers back to breeding more Merino ewes.</p> <p>“Many producers are preferring to breed ewes rather than buy in replacements,” he said.</p> <p>“Breeding a self-replacing Merino flock does have several benefits, particularly from a biosecurity standpoint. But at the end of the day it comes back to management, the money you make comes from management, through your pastures, genetics, animal health and marketing.”</p> <p>Mr Schuppan says it is important to keep enterprises “simple”, have scale and get operations done on time.</p> <p>“For farmers who only have 800 to 1000 ewes, focus on one enterprise with your flock,” he said.</p> <p>“It’s better to have a decent line of wool and surplus sheep to sell, rather than multiple enterprises. It helps to minimise labour requirements. The benefit of having a first cross lamb in the system to offload early for seasonal risk management reasons can be overcome with different tactics.</p> <p>“Focus on keeping it simple, for example with a self-replacing Merino flock in a 12-month period you can have one lambing, one or two shearings and sell a marketable line of surplus ewes, 1.5-year-old ewes and wether lambs.</p> <p>“Also, if you need advice to achieve your aims, then look to employ outside help where needed, whether that’s through using someone else to select and buy your rams, or class your sheep, or review the whole livestock enterprise plan and do some budgets, use outside expertise with a fresh set of eyes where you can.”</p> <p><strong>System design key</strong></p> <p>Mr Schuppan says he works with his clients to “design a system”, discussing what they enjoy doing, identifying future plans and breeding objectives.</p> <p>“We then sit down with a 12-month calendar and juggle when to complete different husbandry operations, for example when ewes lamb and when lambs are marketed,” he said.</p> <p>“Once the target market is identified, then identify how it will be achieved. What is the feed base and how can you change or manipulate pastures to get a different outcome? Otherwise change the target market.</p> <p>“Time of lambing is also key – particularly when aiming to maximise growth rates.”</p> <p>Mr Schuppan says benchmarking is important to examine production indicators, such as stocking rate, growth rate, reproduction rate and death rate, and to compare performance within the enterprise/business year-on-year, and or against others to look for opportunities to improve.</p> <p>He said this level of analysis has proved that self-replacing Merino enterprises had been “really competitive”.</p> <p>“Merinos have provided a very good source of income in the past 12 months, compared to other enterprises in the mixed farming zone, but in the long-term they complement a cropping enterprise very well,” he said.</p> <p>“The sheep industry consists of people, who are a mix of ages, working successfully together but I know many young people who want to expand their sheep numbers but just can’t get a break. So, if you are sitting on the fence, not enjoying the challenge or have a spare paddock, find these people as they want to take the sheep industry to the next level.”</p> <p>This story is part of a series of case studies as part of the Australian Association of Stud Merino Breeders’ Breed More Merino Ewes campaign. The campaign aims to show producers just how viable the Australian Merino is in a farming enterprise. More information and case studies are available at www.merinos.com.au</p> <p><img src="images/success_stories/Daniel-Schuppan.jpg" alt="Daniel Schuppan" /></p> <p><strong>Case study - The Australian Merino as a profitable enterprise</strong></p> <p><strong>Name</strong>: Daniel Schuppan</p> <p><strong>Company</strong>: Landmark</p> <p><strong>Position</strong>: Animal Production Specialist</p> <p><strong>Location</strong>: Jamestown, South Australia</p> <p><strong>Clients</strong>: Works with a mix of producers across SA, from mixed farms to 100 percent sheep and/or beef enterprises</p> <p></p> <p><strong>Why Merinos?</strong></p> <p>1 Flexibility – Merinos allow producers to target different markets in the meat and fibre sectors</p> <p>2 Profitability – In 2016 benchmarking figures, Merinos produced $60/DSE</p> <p>3 Adaptability – Merinos run in a range of environments – pastoral, cereal and higher-rainfall</p> <p><strong>Merinos offer flexible production fit on-farm in SA</strong></p> <p>MERINOS offer farmers a profitable option with the ability to produce a gross margin of up to $60 per dry sheep equivalent for self-replacing Merino flocks in the cereal zone according to 2016-17 Sheep’s Back Benchmarking Program figures, says Landmark Animal Production Specialist Daniel Schuppan.</p> <p>He says a Merino enterprise also provides flexibility, allowing producers to target different markets in the meat and fibre sectors.</p> <p>“We have a magnificent product in wool and meat, there are opportunities for producers to innovate, differentiate and engage consumers,” he said.</p> <p>Mr Schuppan, who works with producers across SA and runs several farm benchmarking groups, says current high prices for wool, meat and breeding ewes meant great returns for the Merino sector but you still need a good livestock system to “capture the good times”.</p> <p>“There’s good demand for wool, then on the meat side, producers have a range of options - running a self-replacing flock, finishing wether lambs or selling as stores, selling 1.5-year-old surplus breeders, selling cast-for-age ewes for mutton or joining all or some Merino ewes to British breed rams to produce a first cross lamb. There’s many options which enable Merinos to fit into a production system that best suits a producer’s management and farm capabilities,” he said.</p> <p>“Merino ewes can be joined all year round as there is less impact from day length on fertility so you can target them to lamb early and finish lambs on green feed or lamb later and finish on stubbles, irrigation or in a feedlot.</p> <p>“Whether it’s in the pastoral, cereal or even high rainfall zones, Merinos fit in well across the board and can adapt to a range of environments.”</p> <p>Mr Schuppan says two key factors in a self-replacing Merino enterprise are feed and genetics.</p> <p>“You need to focus on growing good quality feed and utilise as much as possible,” he said.</p> <p>“With genetics, it all comes down to setting breeding objectives for your flock, and then aligning them to a stud that fits.”</p> <p><strong>Breeding more Merino ewes</strong></p> <p>Mr Schuppan said current high replacement ewe prices had led some producers back to breeding more Merino ewes.</p> <p>“Many producers are preferring to breed ewes rather than buy in replacements,” he said.</p> <p>“Breeding a self-replacing Merino flock does have several benefits, particularly from a biosecurity standpoint. But at the end of the day it comes back to management, the money you make comes from management, through your pastures, genetics, animal health and marketing.”</p> <p>Mr Schuppan says it is important to keep enterprises “simple”, have scale and get operations done on time.</p> <p>“For farmers who only have 800 to 1000 ewes, focus on one enterprise with your flock,” he said.</p> <p>“It’s better to have a decent line of wool and surplus sheep to sell, rather than multiple enterprises. It helps to minimise labour requirements. The benefit of having a first cross lamb in the system to offload early for seasonal risk management reasons can be overcome with different tactics.</p> <p>“Focus on keeping it simple, for example with a self-replacing Merino flock in a 12-month period you can have one lambing, one or two shearings and sell a marketable line of surplus ewes, 1.5-year-old ewes and wether lambs.</p> <p>“Also, if you need advice to achieve your aims, then look to employ outside help where needed, whether that’s through using someone else to select and buy your rams, or class your sheep, or review the whole livestock enterprise plan and do some budgets, use outside expertise with a fresh set of eyes where you can.”</p> <p><strong>System design key</strong></p> <p>Mr Schuppan says he works with his clients to “design a system”, discussing what they enjoy doing, identifying future plans and breeding objectives.</p> <p>“We then sit down with a 12-month calendar and juggle when to complete different husbandry operations, for example when ewes lamb and when lambs are marketed,” he said.</p> <p>“Once the target market is identified, then identify how it will be achieved. What is the feed base and how can you change or manipulate pastures to get a different outcome? Otherwise change the target market.</p> <p>“Time of lambing is also key – particularly when aiming to maximise growth rates.”</p> <p>Mr Schuppan says benchmarking is important to examine production indicators, such as stocking rate, growth rate, reproduction rate and death rate, and to compare performance within the enterprise/business year-on-year, and or against others to look for opportunities to improve.</p> <p>He said this level of analysis has proved that self-replacing Merino enterprises had been “really competitive”.</p> <p>“Merinos have provided a very good source of income in the past 12 months, compared to other enterprises in the mixed farming zone, but in the long-term they complement a cropping enterprise very well,” he said.</p> <p>“The sheep industry consists of people, who are a mix of ages, working successfully together but I know many young people who want to expand their sheep numbers but just can’t get a break. So, if you are sitting on the fence, not enjoying the challenge or have a spare paddock, find these people as they want to take the sheep industry to the next level.”</p> <p>This story is part of a series of case studies as part of the Australian Association of Stud Merino Breeders’ Breed More Merino Ewes campaign. The campaign aims to show producers just how viable the Australian Merino is in a farming enterprise. More information and case studies are available at www.merinos.com.au</p> Merino Success Story - Simon Fowler 2017-09-20T15:54:38+00:00 2017-09-20T15:54:38+00:00 http://merinos.com.au/news/312-merino-success-story-simon-fowler Super User marion@merinos.com.au <p><img src="http://merinos.com.au/images/success_stories/simon-fowler.jpg" alt="simon fowler" /></p> <p><strong>Case Study: The Australian Merino a Profitable Enterprise</strong></p> <p><em>By CAITLYN BURLING</em></p> <p><strong>Farmer</strong>: Simon Fowler</p> <p><strong>Location</strong>: Condingup, 90km east of Esperance</p> <p><strong>Property size</strong>: 28,000ha arable</p> <p><strong>Average annual rainfall:</strong> 500mm</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Why Merinos? My top 3 reasons</strong></p> <p>1. Wool cut is critical - the dual income of both wool and meat is the main reason we have always run Merinos.</p> <p>2. Suited to our environment - dry summers, can be mated almost any time of the year, very ver-satile.</p> <p>3. Ease of management - Merinos are perfectly suited to our farming system as a whole and are an important part of the rotation.</p> <p>IN an area typically known for its big croppers, discovering the Fowler family’s 25,000 head Merino ewe flock near Condingup, 90 kilometres east of Esperance, Western Australia, is somewhat of an anomaly.</p> <p>On top of that, the last five seasons have seen this Merino flock clearly out-perform the Fowler’s 19,000 hectare cropping enterprise, producing an average livestock operating profit of $210 a hec-tare, something co-owner Simon Fowler is particularly proud of.</p> <p>The Fowler family are a force to be reckoned with in an era where big corporate businesses are slowly nudging out family-owned and operated farming systems.</p> <p>Generations of Fowlers have been farming in the Esperance region since 1969 and now Richard Fowler and his three sons Simon, Andrew and Tim are more determined than ever to keep their 28,000ha of owned and leased land thriving.</p> <p>A huge part of their path to profitability has always been their Merino operation, a mainstay of their family farming system and one that has remained an integral part of their cropping, pasture and livestock operation.</p> <p>Simon runs the livestock side of the business while his brothers coordinate the cropping, and he said they are currently operating at a stocking rate of between 12-14 Dry Sheep Equivalent (DSE) and a total of 25,000 Merino ewes, in addition to 2500 Angus breeders.</p> <p>He attributes their profitable performance of the last two years to their high stocking rate in a gen-erally 8 DSE area, their 9000ha pasture rotation and a strong, steady Merino industry.</p> <p>“We’ve been steadily averaging over $100 for a lamb for a few years now, which has been im-portant to our business and also to maintain positivity in the sheep industry,” Simon said.</p> <p>“So not only have the prices been good, but our sheep have also out-performed our cropping due to a high stocking rate and high performance pastures.</p> <p>“We like to finish all of our livestock ready for market, so our livestock graze cereal and canola crops, in addition to our high performance pasture paddocks.</p> <p>“Our stocking rate means we need to maintain good quality pastures and maximise the value of everything we have.</p> <p>“We’ve always run a huge amount of sheep, there’s a lot of synergy between livestock and crop-ping, they work in such a way that one benefits the other.”</p> <p>In addition to a solid frame and carcass structure for meat production, top quality wool is a driving force behind the large number of Merino ewes the Fowlers maintain, with the dual purpose nature of the breed ensuring two reliable incomes at crucial times of the year.</p> <p>All of these elements culminate in representing precisely the type of Merino operation required to maintain and boost Australia’s ewe flock, the primary focus of the Australian Association of Stud Merino Breeder’s (AASMB) latest Breed More Merino Ewes campaign.</p> <p>The campaign aims to highlight the exceptional profitability and performance of the Merino across three key areas - best natural fibre, great tasting meat and the most profitable breed - in order to encourage producers to increase their ewe numbers.</p> <p>It is those three specific components of wool, meat and dual-purpose profit that will ensure the Fowler family will continue to run such large numbers of Merino ewes far into the future.</p> <p>They shear close to 40,000 animals every year and spread their shearing period over the three months of spring, producing fleeces throughout September, October and November with a 21 mi-cron average and an average of 5kg greasy fleece weight.</p> <p>For the past 15 years, the Merino ewes that did not meet the required carcass criteria or produce plenty of white, bright, free-growing wool are culled from the primary breeding flock and are used as ideal mothers for breeding prime lambs.</p> <p>They are joined to White Suffolk rams which allows the Fowler’s to maintain a total Merino ewe flock of 25,000, capitalising on the Merino’s excellent mothering ability when joined to other breeds, while continuing to receive a wool income.</p> <p>Both the White Suffolk and Merino rams are joined to the ewes for 42 days, the White Suffolks in mid-October followed by the Merinos in mid-December, spreading the selling period of their lambs over a number of months.</p> <p>In doing this, the Fowlers capitalise on early season premiums for their 8000 F1 White Suffolk-Merino lambs in July and August, followed by supplying the local market with 15,000 perfectly fin-ished, 22kg cwt Merino wether lambs turned off from their on-farm feedlot.</p> <p>While Simon admits he would like to improve their 95 per cent lambing rate, he is confident his ge-netics are heading in the right direction.</p> <p>“We are focusing on purchasing the right kind of genetics, as well as pregnancy testing, to lift our lambing percentages,” he said.</p> <p>“I think the direction Merino breeders have taken in recent years means we have some great ge-netics coming through, with larger, plainer carcasses and types of wool the industry wants.</p> <p>“Our sheep have always provided us with an ideal enterprise mix and we won’t meddle with that too much.”</p> <p>This case study is part of the BBME campaign, demonstrating the unrivalled performance of the Australian Merino.</p> <p><img src="images/success_stories/simon-fowler.jpg" alt="simon fowler" /></p> <p><strong>Case Study: The Australian Merino a Profitable Enterprise</strong></p> <p><em>By CAITLYN BURLING</em></p> <p><strong>Farmer</strong>: Simon Fowler</p> <p><strong>Location</strong>: Condingup, 90km east of Esperance</p> <p><strong>Property size</strong>: 28,000ha arable</p> <p><strong>Average annual rainfall:</strong> 500mm</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Why Merinos? My top 3 reasons</strong></p> <p>1. Wool cut is critical - the dual income of both wool and meat is the main reason we have always run Merinos.</p> <p>2. Suited to our environment - dry summers, can be mated almost any time of the year, very ver-satile.</p> <p>3. Ease of management - Merinos are perfectly suited to our farming system as a whole and are an important part of the rotation.</p> <p>IN an area typically known for its big croppers, discovering the Fowler family’s 25,000 head Merino ewe flock near Condingup, 90 kilometres east of Esperance, Western Australia, is somewhat of an anomaly.</p> <p>On top of that, the last five seasons have seen this Merino flock clearly out-perform the Fowler’s 19,000 hectare cropping enterprise, producing an average livestock operating profit of $210 a hec-tare, something co-owner Simon Fowler is particularly proud of.</p> <p>The Fowler family are a force to be reckoned with in an era where big corporate businesses are slowly nudging out family-owned and operated farming systems.</p> <p>Generations of Fowlers have been farming in the Esperance region since 1969 and now Richard Fowler and his three sons Simon, Andrew and Tim are more determined than ever to keep their 28,000ha of owned and leased land thriving.</p> <p>A huge part of their path to profitability has always been their Merino operation, a mainstay of their family farming system and one that has remained an integral part of their cropping, pasture and livestock operation.</p> <p>Simon runs the livestock side of the business while his brothers coordinate the cropping, and he said they are currently operating at a stocking rate of between 12-14 Dry Sheep Equivalent (DSE) and a total of 25,000 Merino ewes, in addition to 2500 Angus breeders.</p> <p>He attributes their profitable performance of the last two years to their high stocking rate in a gen-erally 8 DSE area, their 9000ha pasture rotation and a strong, steady Merino industry.</p> <p>“We’ve been steadily averaging over $100 for a lamb for a few years now, which has been im-portant to our business and also to maintain positivity in the sheep industry,” Simon said.</p> <p>“So not only have the prices been good, but our sheep have also out-performed our cropping due to a high stocking rate and high performance pastures.</p> <p>“We like to finish all of our livestock ready for market, so our livestock graze cereal and canola crops, in addition to our high performance pasture paddocks.</p> <p>“Our stocking rate means we need to maintain good quality pastures and maximise the value of everything we have.</p> <p>“We’ve always run a huge amount of sheep, there’s a lot of synergy between livestock and crop-ping, they work in such a way that one benefits the other.”</p> <p>In addition to a solid frame and carcass structure for meat production, top quality wool is a driving force behind the large number of Merino ewes the Fowlers maintain, with the dual purpose nature of the breed ensuring two reliable incomes at crucial times of the year.</p> <p>All of these elements culminate in representing precisely the type of Merino operation required to maintain and boost Australia’s ewe flock, the primary focus of the Australian Association of Stud Merino Breeder’s (AASMB) latest Breed More Merino Ewes campaign.</p> <p>The campaign aims to highlight the exceptional profitability and performance of the Merino across three key areas - best natural fibre, great tasting meat and the most profitable breed - in order to encourage producers to increase their ewe numbers.</p> <p>It is those three specific components of wool, meat and dual-purpose profit that will ensure the Fowler family will continue to run such large numbers of Merino ewes far into the future.</p> <p>They shear close to 40,000 animals every year and spread their shearing period over the three months of spring, producing fleeces throughout September, October and November with a 21 mi-cron average and an average of 5kg greasy fleece weight.</p> <p>For the past 15 years, the Merino ewes that did not meet the required carcass criteria or produce plenty of white, bright, free-growing wool are culled from the primary breeding flock and are used as ideal mothers for breeding prime lambs.</p> <p>They are joined to White Suffolk rams which allows the Fowler’s to maintain a total Merino ewe flock of 25,000, capitalising on the Merino’s excellent mothering ability when joined to other breeds, while continuing to receive a wool income.</p> <p>Both the White Suffolk and Merino rams are joined to the ewes for 42 days, the White Suffolks in mid-October followed by the Merinos in mid-December, spreading the selling period of their lambs over a number of months.</p> <p>In doing this, the Fowlers capitalise on early season premiums for their 8000 F1 White Suffolk-Merino lambs in July and August, followed by supplying the local market with 15,000 perfectly fin-ished, 22kg cwt Merino wether lambs turned off from their on-farm feedlot.</p> <p>While Simon admits he would like to improve their 95 per cent lambing rate, he is confident his ge-netics are heading in the right direction.</p> <p>“We are focusing on purchasing the right kind of genetics, as well as pregnancy testing, to lift our lambing percentages,” he said.</p> <p>“I think the direction Merino breeders have taken in recent years means we have some great ge-netics coming through, with larger, plainer carcasses and types of wool the industry wants.</p> <p>“Our sheep have always provided us with an ideal enterprise mix and we won’t meddle with that too much.”</p> <p>This case study is part of the BBME campaign, demonstrating the unrivalled performance of the Australian Merino.</p> Merino Success Story - Sam Lyne 2017-07-10T00:10:35+00:00 2017-07-10T00:10:35+00:00 http://merinos.com.au/news/310-merino-success-story-sam-lyne Sally Hicks marion@merinos.com.au <p><img src="http://merinos.com.au/images/success_stories/SamLyne.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><span style="font-size: 14pt;">Case study - Sam Lyne - Tasmania</span></strong></p> <p><strong>Farmer</strong> Sam, Crosby and Angus Lyne</p> <p><strong>Location</strong> Riccarton, Campbell Town, Tasmania</p> <p><strong>Property size</strong> 2600ha</p> <p><strong>Average annual rainfall</strong> 500mm</p> <p><strong>Enterprise mix</strong> One-half cropping barley, wheat, canola, peas, poppies and seed crops, one-quarter 3500 self-replacing Merino flock, one-quarter Merino ewes mated to terminal and composite sires.</p> <p><strong>1 Profitability</strong> – Merinos generate an income of up to $60/DSE for wool and $40/DSE for lambs</p> <p><strong>2 Environment</strong> – Merinos are a better match to the region where the Lynes farm, not having the feed requirements in the drought years.</p> <p><strong>3 Spread risk</strong> – Merinos provide a dual-income from meat and wool, with lambs sold for $6.50/kg</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size: 14pt;"><strong>Merinos push Tassie profits up at Campbell Town</strong></span></p> <p>MERINOS consistently return profits of up to $60 per dry sheep equivalent and $40/DSE for lambs at Sam Lyne's Riccarton property at Campbell Town, Tasmania.</p> <p>Sam farms with his father Crosby and brother Angus, running 7300 ewes on the 2600-hectare property, with 3500 of the ewes run as a self-replacing Merino flock and the remainder mated to terminal and composite sires.</p> <p>He said running a self-replacing Merino flock had helped to spread risk with dual income streams from meat and wool.</p> <p>"Meat breeds are just relying on a strong lamb market," he said. "We sell Merino lambs to a nearby abattoir that opened up a market five years ago, with the Middle East and they like 12-18kg Merino lambs. It allows us to sell our Merino wether lambs earlier and still make decent money.</p> <p>"If we were to go down the meat breed road it would be hard to get back into Merinos, whereas Merinos offer that flexibility. If you have the bigger meat breeds, you ha ve less sheep and you have the associated feed requirements which isn't ideal for us in our unreliable climate."</p> <p>The Lynes run Merinos at 12.5 DSE for winter grazed land, which includes dryland and some irrigated land, producing a profit of about $500/ha.</p> <p>In comparison irrigated barley at a 7-tonne yield, at $250/t has a profit of about $850/ha. While dryland barley at a 5t yield, has a profit of about $450/ha</p> <p>"We have a pretty diverse system, sheep and crops work well together on our property and in a year like we have just had, the high prices for wool and meat make up for the poor cereal prices," Sam said.</p> <p>"Making $500/ha from sheep is good especially if you consider the low risk involved. Sheep also have an economic benefit in weed control and removing crop residues."</p> <p>Sam said their Merinos had a more medium-frame, meaning handling was easier.</p> <p>"Merinos aren't as big so they are easier to handle, which is better for the shearers," he said.</p> <p>"There's more long-term sustainability for everyone. The country we have is ideal Merino country, in a dry year we would have to keep the feed up to another breed whereas Merinos don't have the feed requirements that these other breeds need.</p> <p>"Then, you also have the wool which is going really well at the moment and lambs are very comparable (in price) at the moment."</p> <p>In late February, Merino wether lambs, 14 kilograms dressweight, August-drop, sold for $6.50/kg dw equivalent to $96 a head.</p> <p>"It's a very comparable price to crossbred lambs," he said. "Merinos have the potential to do just as well as first-cross lambs."</p> <p>Wool prices have already been locked in for a quarter of the Riccarton clip at 1530 cents a kilogram clean for June, and rates were also locked in for July 2018 at 1650c/kg clean. On average, the Lynes produce 45,000kg of greasy wool a year. Wool is marketed through Roberts Limited and sold in Melbourne.</p> <p>"Our main aim is to produce lots of wool with good strength," Sam said. "We have 19-micron wool and cut 5.5-6kg per head with an average yield of 72 percent, but this can vary depending on the year and what the ewes have been run on."</p> <p>Of the 2600ha property, 460ha can be irrigated, so dual-purpose crops are grown, and are currently being watered for autumn feed.</p> <p>Sam says on the two properties they run, there is a mix of red loam soil, open tussocks and improved pastures. Lambs are dropped in August, in-line with seasonal feed availability.</p> <p>Rams have been sourced from a well-known stud in New South Wales since 2011, partly to shift to poll genetics but also to improve fertility and improve the early maturity of lambs. Since the switch, lambing percentages have risen from 80pc to 100pc. The Lynes have also scanned for dry, single and multiple pregnancies during the past three years.</p> <p>Lambs are sold by June, before they cut two teeth. They are weaned and run on stubbles, weighed, then sold on-hooks once they fit into required weight categories, either the 12-18kgdw bracket to Tas Quality Meats, or if more than 18kgdw sold to Victoria.</p> <p>"It depends on what price and seasonal conditions as to where we sell them," Sam said. "If prices are better we can keep until heavier, regardless though we want to get them off by June to free up feed before ewes lamb in August."</p> <p>Sam said he supported the Australian Association of Stud Merino Breeders' Breed More Merino Ewes Campaign.</p> <p>"I like the flexibility of the Merino," he said. "If you have a fertile ewe that is producing plenty of lambs and quality wool, I find it hard to beat."</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="images/success_stories/SamLyne.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><span style="font-size: 14pt;">Case study - Sam Lyne - Tasmania</span></strong></p> <p><strong>Farmer</strong> Sam, Crosby and Angus Lyne</p> <p><strong>Location</strong> Riccarton, Campbell Town, Tasmania</p> <p><strong>Property size</strong> 2600ha</p> <p><strong>Average annual rainfall</strong> 500mm</p> <p><strong>Enterprise mix</strong> One-half cropping barley, wheat, canola, peas, poppies and seed crops, one-quarter 3500 self-replacing Merino flock, one-quarter Merino ewes mated to terminal and composite sires.</p> <p><strong>1 Profitability</strong> – Merinos generate an income of up to $60/DSE for wool and $40/DSE for lambs</p> <p><strong>2 Environment</strong> – Merinos are a better match to the region where the Lynes farm, not having the feed requirements in the drought years.</p> <p><strong>3 Spread risk</strong> – Merinos provide a dual-income from meat and wool, with lambs sold for $6.50/kg</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size: 14pt;"><strong>Merinos push Tassie profits up at Campbell Town</strong></span></p> <p>MERINOS consistently return profits of up to $60 per dry sheep equivalent and $40/DSE for lambs at Sam Lyne's Riccarton property at Campbell Town, Tasmania.</p> <p>Sam farms with his father Crosby and brother Angus, running 7300 ewes on the 2600-hectare property, with 3500 of the ewes run as a self-replacing Merino flock and the remainder mated to terminal and composite sires.</p> <p>He said running a self-replacing Merino flock had helped to spread risk with dual income streams from meat and wool.</p> <p>"Meat breeds are just relying on a strong lamb market," he said. "We sell Merino lambs to a nearby abattoir that opened up a market five years ago, with the Middle East and they like 12-18kg Merino lambs. It allows us to sell our Merino wether lambs earlier and still make decent money.</p> <p>"If we were to go down the meat breed road it would be hard to get back into Merinos, whereas Merinos offer that flexibility. If you have the bigger meat breeds, you ha ve less sheep and you have the associated feed requirements which isn't ideal for us in our unreliable climate."</p> <p>The Lynes run Merinos at 12.5 DSE for winter grazed land, which includes dryland and some irrigated land, producing a profit of about $500/ha.</p> <p>In comparison irrigated barley at a 7-tonne yield, at $250/t has a profit of about $850/ha. While dryland barley at a 5t yield, has a profit of about $450/ha</p> <p>"We have a pretty diverse system, sheep and crops work well together on our property and in a year like we have just had, the high prices for wool and meat make up for the poor cereal prices," Sam said.</p> <p>"Making $500/ha from sheep is good especially if you consider the low risk involved. Sheep also have an economic benefit in weed control and removing crop residues."</p> <p>Sam said their Merinos had a more medium-frame, meaning handling was easier.</p> <p>"Merinos aren't as big so they are easier to handle, which is better for the shearers," he said.</p> <p>"There's more long-term sustainability for everyone. The country we have is ideal Merino country, in a dry year we would have to keep the feed up to another breed whereas Merinos don't have the feed requirements that these other breeds need.</p> <p>"Then, you also have the wool which is going really well at the moment and lambs are very comparable (in price) at the moment."</p> <p>In late February, Merino wether lambs, 14 kilograms dressweight, August-drop, sold for $6.50/kg dw equivalent to $96 a head.</p> <p>"It's a very comparable price to crossbred lambs," he said. "Merinos have the potential to do just as well as first-cross lambs."</p> <p>Wool prices have already been locked in for a quarter of the Riccarton clip at 1530 cents a kilogram clean for June, and rates were also locked in for July 2018 at 1650c/kg clean. On average, the Lynes produce 45,000kg of greasy wool a year. Wool is marketed through Roberts Limited and sold in Melbourne.</p> <p>"Our main aim is to produce lots of wool with good strength," Sam said. "We have 19-micron wool and cut 5.5-6kg per head with an average yield of 72 percent, but this can vary depending on the year and what the ewes have been run on."</p> <p>Of the 2600ha property, 460ha can be irrigated, so dual-purpose crops are grown, and are currently being watered for autumn feed.</p> <p>Sam says on the two properties they run, there is a mix of red loam soil, open tussocks and improved pastures. Lambs are dropped in August, in-line with seasonal feed availability.</p> <p>Rams have been sourced from a well-known stud in New South Wales since 2011, partly to shift to poll genetics but also to improve fertility and improve the early maturity of lambs. Since the switch, lambing percentages have risen from 80pc to 100pc. The Lynes have also scanned for dry, single and multiple pregnancies during the past three years.</p> <p>Lambs are sold by June, before they cut two teeth. They are weaned and run on stubbles, weighed, then sold on-hooks once they fit into required weight categories, either the 12-18kgdw bracket to Tas Quality Meats, or if more than 18kgdw sold to Victoria.</p> <p>"It depends on what price and seasonal conditions as to where we sell them," Sam said. "If prices are better we can keep until heavier, regardless though we want to get them off by June to free up feed before ewes lamb in August."</p> <p>Sam said he supported the Australian Association of Stud Merino Breeders' Breed More Merino Ewes Campaign.</p> <p>"I like the flexibility of the Merino," he said. "If you have a fertile ewe that is producing plenty of lambs and quality wool, I find it hard to beat."</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> National Merino Challenge 2017 2017-05-29T18:00:30+00:00 2017-05-29T18:00:30+00:00 http://merinos.com.au/news/309-national-merino-challenge-2017 Sally Hicks marion@merinos.com.au <p><img src="http://merinos.com.au/images/NMCDinner.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Georgina Wallace, President of the Australian Association of Stud Merino Breeders, inspires a new generation of potential merino breeders at the National Merino Challenge held in Melbourne in May 2017.</p> <p><img src="images/NMCDinner.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Georgina Wallace, President of the Australian Association of Stud Merino Breeders, inspires a new generation of potential merino breeders at the National Merino Challenge held in Melbourne in May 2017.</p> Sheep Enterprises improve further in 2016 2017-01-27T18:32:50+00:00 2017-01-27T18:32:50+00:00 http://merinos.com.au/news/308-sheep-enterprises-improve-further-in-2016 Grace Collins marion@merinos.com.au <p>Merino's - Truly the most profitable breed!</p> <p><a href="http://merinos.com.au/images/pdfs/FinalMarginresultsPhilGraham.pdf">Click here to read Sheep Enterprises improve further in 2016, an article written by Phil Graham, technical specialist for livestock management NSW DPI</a>.</p> <p>Merino's - Truly the most profitable breed!</p> <p><a href="images/pdfs/FinalMarginresultsPhilGraham.pdf">Click here to read Sheep Enterprises improve further in 2016, an article written by Phil Graham, technical specialist for livestock management NSW DPI</a>.</p> Merino Success Story - Ed Riggall 2016-12-02T09:36:29+00:00 2016-12-02T09:36:29+00:00 http://merinos.com.au/news/300-merino-success-story-ed-riggal Sally Hicks marion@merinos.com.au <p><img src="http://merinos.com.au/images/success_stories/ed-riggall-wa.jpg" alt="ed riggall wa" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12pt;"><strong>Case study – WESTERN AUSTRALIA</strong></span></p> <p><strong>Name</strong> Ed Riggall</p> <p><strong>Company</strong> AgPro Management</p> <p><strong>Position</strong> Farm Management Consultant</p> <p><strong>Location</strong> Narrikup, via Mount Barker, WA</p> <p><strong>Clients</strong> Works with producers across WA, from mixed cropping and sheep enterprises, cattle to 100 per cent sheep</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size: 12pt;"><strong>Why Merinos? My top 3 reasons</strong></span></p> <p><strong>1 </strong>Profitability<strong> – </strong>Benchmarking figures for Merinos in WA’s Wheat Belt Region ranged from $35 to $40-plus dry sheep equivalent a hectare in 2015-16</p> <p><strong>2 </strong>Low risk enterprise – The Merino’s dual-purpose abilities to grow meat and wool make them an excellent on-farm option</p> <p><strong>3 </strong>Management options – Planting a legume rotation can provide great sheep feed, and also provide nitrogen and nutrient benefits for soils and future crops</p> <p><strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12pt;"><strong>Merinos remain benchmark to enterprise success</strong></span></p> <p>MERINOS remain a “fantastic” option in a mixed farming operation, says AgPro Management’s Ed Riggall, Narrikup, via Mount Barker, Western Australia.</p> <p>Ed, a farm management consultant, says benchmarking figures for Merinos in WA’s Wheat Belt Region ranged from $35 to $40-plus dry sheep equivalent a hectare in 2015-16.</p> <p>“Out in the Lake Grace region, with a DSE of 4-6/ha, producers were benchmarked as making $200 to $250/ha which, next to 2 tonnes/ha of wheat or barley, is a very comparable enterprise,” he said.</p> <p>“The other benefit of sheep, and a Merino enterprise, is they have a much lower risk potential. They are a very reliable and cost-efficient operation to run. Having said that, sheep and cropping are two hugely complementary enterprises.</p> <p>“Having a legume rotation can provide great sheep feed, and also provide nitrogen and nutrient benefits for soils and future crops. Sheep also play a huge role in weed management.”</p> <p><strong>Profit driver</strong></p> <p>Ed says output per hectare was the real driver of commercial success.</p> <p>“Producers should talk more about their sheep, like they do with their crops,” he said. “Concentrating on gross margins and benchmarking allows clients a real opportunity to see where they fit and keep it real with their income/ha. It’s about optimising your management and the environment that you live in.</p> <p>“There’s a huge opportunity for farmers in terms of what they put into their operations. Whenever I benchmark a group of businesses, it’s the income per hectare where the real variation is, not the costs.</p> <p>“Financially successful businesses spend money on things that generate income, whether it’s feeding the appropriate amount, bulking up pastures to improve stocking rate and lambs per hectare or ensuring they have healthy, parasite-free animals.</p> <p>“If you spend some money in the right area, for example, if you sow crops for feed, if you have sparse pastures then this can then potentially go straight to profits as you increase the amount of DSE/ha you are able to run.”</p> <p><strong>Merinos dominate WA</strong></p> <p>Ed says Merinos comprise 80-90 per cent of the WA ewe flock.</p> <p>“From an economic perspective, sheep meat and wool indicators are fantastic. If you’re not enthusiastic about the prospects of sheep meat and wool now, you’ll never be. On a sheep confidence index I would rate it as a 10 (out of 10),” he said.</p> <p>Ed has a mix of clients across WA, from mixed cropping and sheep enterprises, cattle to 100 per cent sheep. He financially benchmarks clients’ enterprises to analyse their operations, highlighting areas for improvement.</p> <p>“If producers want to optimise the money they make per hectare, they need to run the optimum amount of stock per hectare while considering their environment, genetics and management capacity,” he said. “Wool is such a great product, it forgives a lot of management sins, and wool is at a fantastic price.”</p> <p><strong>Key management decisions</strong></p> <p>Ed says there are three key factors of management:</p> <ol> <li>Running a property at an optimal stocking level for its environment.</li> <li>Keep sheep in appropriate condition at score 2.5 to 3.</li> <li>Control external and internal parasites, such as flies, lice or worms.</li> </ol> <p>Lambing ewes onto green feed helped to maximise stocking capacity.</p> <p>“It’s hard to optimise stocking rates and lambing percentage if you’re lambing onto dry paddocks with no feed and having to feed out high levels of grain for every extra ewe that’s being run,” Ed says.</p> <p>Ed said Merinos were a particularly low risk enterprise, because of their dual-purpose abilities to grow meat and wool.</p> <p>“The dual income is fantastic,” he said. “The genetics that are available in the Merino breed also mean there are vast opportunities for whatever you want to concentrate on, whether that be wool, or meat, or a dual income. You need to select animals that suit your management style and whatever it is you want to do.”</p> <p><strong>Bright season prospects</strong></p> <p>Ed said the 2016 season had been one of the best stock year in memory for most of WA.</p> <p>“Wool cut is up 10 per cent, as we’ve had a much longer growing season thanks to an earlier break. There’s been solid lambing percentages and lambs are getting up to weights quickly due to being lambed onto good feed,” he said.</p> <p>“The wool indicator is in the ninth to top decile. Average farm sheep sales are about $80 to $90 per head, last time we enjoyed this was during an incredibly hard 2001 season so it’s fantastic that farmers can enjoy a great season and great prices.”&nbsp; &nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="images/success_stories/ed-riggall-wa.jpg" alt="ed riggall wa" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12pt;"><strong>Case study – WESTERN AUSTRALIA</strong></span></p> <p><strong>Name</strong> Ed Riggall</p> <p><strong>Company</strong> AgPro Management</p> <p><strong>Position</strong> Farm Management Consultant</p> <p><strong>Location</strong> Narrikup, via Mount Barker, WA</p> <p><strong>Clients</strong> Works with producers across WA, from mixed cropping and sheep enterprises, cattle to 100 per cent sheep</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size: 12pt;"><strong>Why Merinos? My top 3 reasons</strong></span></p> <p><strong>1 </strong>Profitability<strong> – </strong>Benchmarking figures for Merinos in WA’s Wheat Belt Region ranged from $35 to $40-plus dry sheep equivalent a hectare in 2015-16</p> <p><strong>2 </strong>Low risk enterprise – The Merino’s dual-purpose abilities to grow meat and wool make them an excellent on-farm option</p> <p><strong>3 </strong>Management options – Planting a legume rotation can provide great sheep feed, and also provide nitrogen and nutrient benefits for soils and future crops</p> <p><strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12pt;"><strong>Merinos remain benchmark to enterprise success</strong></span></p> <p>MERINOS remain a “fantastic” option in a mixed farming operation, says AgPro Management’s Ed Riggall, Narrikup, via Mount Barker, Western Australia.</p> <p>Ed, a farm management consultant, says benchmarking figures for Merinos in WA’s Wheat Belt Region ranged from $35 to $40-plus dry sheep equivalent a hectare in 2015-16.</p> <p>“Out in the Lake Grace region, with a DSE of 4-6/ha, producers were benchmarked as making $200 to $250/ha which, next to 2 tonnes/ha of wheat or barley, is a very comparable enterprise,” he said.</p> <p>“The other benefit of sheep, and a Merino enterprise, is they have a much lower risk potential. They are a very reliable and cost-efficient operation to run. Having said that, sheep and cropping are two hugely complementary enterprises.</p> <p>“Having a legume rotation can provide great sheep feed, and also provide nitrogen and nutrient benefits for soils and future crops. Sheep also play a huge role in weed management.”</p> <p><strong>Profit driver</strong></p> <p>Ed says output per hectare was the real driver of commercial success.</p> <p>“Producers should talk more about their sheep, like they do with their crops,” he said. “Concentrating on gross margins and benchmarking allows clients a real opportunity to see where they fit and keep it real with their income/ha. It’s about optimising your management and the environment that you live in.</p> <p>“There’s a huge opportunity for farmers in terms of what they put into their operations. Whenever I benchmark a group of businesses, it’s the income per hectare where the real variation is, not the costs.</p> <p>“Financially successful businesses spend money on things that generate income, whether it’s feeding the appropriate amount, bulking up pastures to improve stocking rate and lambs per hectare or ensuring they have healthy, parasite-free animals.</p> <p>“If you spend some money in the right area, for example, if you sow crops for feed, if you have sparse pastures then this can then potentially go straight to profits as you increase the amount of DSE/ha you are able to run.”</p> <p><strong>Merinos dominate WA</strong></p> <p>Ed says Merinos comprise 80-90 per cent of the WA ewe flock.</p> <p>“From an economic perspective, sheep meat and wool indicators are fantastic. If you’re not enthusiastic about the prospects of sheep meat and wool now, you’ll never be. On a sheep confidence index I would rate it as a 10 (out of 10),” he said.</p> <p>Ed has a mix of clients across WA, from mixed cropping and sheep enterprises, cattle to 100 per cent sheep. He financially benchmarks clients’ enterprises to analyse their operations, highlighting areas for improvement.</p> <p>“If producers want to optimise the money they make per hectare, they need to run the optimum amount of stock per hectare while considering their environment, genetics and management capacity,” he said. “Wool is such a great product, it forgives a lot of management sins, and wool is at a fantastic price.”</p> <p><strong>Key management decisions</strong></p> <p>Ed says there are three key factors of management:</p> <ol> <li>Running a property at an optimal stocking level for its environment.</li> <li>Keep sheep in appropriate condition at score 2.5 to 3.</li> <li>Control external and internal parasites, such as flies, lice or worms.</li> </ol> <p>Lambing ewes onto green feed helped to maximise stocking capacity.</p> <p>“It’s hard to optimise stocking rates and lambing percentage if you’re lambing onto dry paddocks with no feed and having to feed out high levels of grain for every extra ewe that’s being run,” Ed says.</p> <p>Ed said Merinos were a particularly low risk enterprise, because of their dual-purpose abilities to grow meat and wool.</p> <p>“The dual income is fantastic,” he said. “The genetics that are available in the Merino breed also mean there are vast opportunities for whatever you want to concentrate on, whether that be wool, or meat, or a dual income. You need to select animals that suit your management style and whatever it is you want to do.”</p> <p><strong>Bright season prospects</strong></p> <p>Ed said the 2016 season had been one of the best stock year in memory for most of WA.</p> <p>“Wool cut is up 10 per cent, as we’ve had a much longer growing season thanks to an earlier break. There’s been solid lambing percentages and lambs are getting up to weights quickly due to being lambed onto good feed,” he said.</p> <p>“The wool indicator is in the ninth to top decile. Average farm sheep sales are about $80 to $90 per head, last time we enjoyed this was during an incredibly hard 2001 season so it’s fantastic that farmers can enjoy a great season and great prices.”&nbsp; &nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Merino Success Story - Martin Ramsay 2016-11-20T11:50:10+00:00 2016-11-20T11:50:10+00:00 http://merinos.com.au/news/295-merino-success-story-martin-ramsay Sally Hicks marion@merinos.com.au <p><img src="http://merinos.com.au/images/success_stories/martin-ramsay-sa.jpg" alt="martin ramsay sa" width="363" height="272" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12pt;"><strong>Case study - South Australia</strong></span></p> <p><strong>Farmer</strong> Martin and Howard Ramsay</p> <p><strong>Location</strong> Warooka, Yorke Peninsula, SA</p> <p><strong>Property size</strong> 1214 hectares</p> <p><strong>Average annual rainfall</strong> 450 millimetres</p> <p><strong>Enterprise mix</strong> Three-quarters self-replacing Merino flock, one-quarter sharefarmed crops</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size: 12pt;"><strong>Why Merinos? My top 3 reasons …</strong></span></p> <p><strong>1 </strong>Profitability –Gross margin returns in the past four years have averaged $241-$250 per winter grazed hectare</p> <p><strong>2 </strong>Performance – electronic identification has helped to put a dollar value on each hogget ewe, ranging from $95-$147 each</p> <p><strong>3 </strong>Enterprise fit –Merinos suit Martin’s enterprise as a sole operator after big returns with limited cropping land</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size: 12pt;"><strong>Stocking rate, bodyweight and fleeceweight drive Merino profitability</strong></span></p> <p><strong>&nbsp;</strong>MERINOS are the breed of choice at Martin Ramsay’s Glenayr property at Warooka on South Australia’s Yorke Peninsula.</p> <p>Martin, who runs the property with his father Howard, says while he had dabbled in crossbreds, for the past 20 years he had focused solely on his self-replacing 1000 ewe Merino flock, running about 2700 Merinos including lambs and hogget ewes.</p> <p>For 15 of those 20 years, Martin has benchmarked his flock, making solid improvements in increasing dollars per hectare. The current average gross margin is $94 per hectare per 100 millimetres of growing season rainfall.</p> <p>Martin says the economic returns helped him to decide to focus solely on a self-replacing Merino flock. This was because while the returns were similar for Merino and crossbred production, it was the fleece potential from the Merino wether lamb that caused overall Merino profitability to come out on top.</p> <p><strong>Driving profit</strong></p> <p>While about 374 hectares of arable land at the 1214ha property is sharefarmed, Martin focuses on livestock working with Landmark animal production specialist Daniel Schuppan to process benchmarking data.</p> <p>Merino profitability on-farm is driven by three key factors – stocking rate, bodyweight and fleeceweight – which Martin closely manages. Stocking rate had grown to 7DSE per winter grazed hectare with wool production at 24.5 kilograms/winter grazed hectare.</p> <p>“While these key factors vary year-on-year, I’ve seen a steady improvement in all of them since I’ve been benchmarking. This takes the guess work out of measuring profitability and you can get a clearer picture of where you’re going season to season,” he said.</p> <p>“Only half the land we have is arable and suitable for cropping, and we only sharefarm a portion of it. It wasn’t economically viable for me to run cropping in comparison to livestock due to machinery costs, and not having any machinery agencies or mechanics nearby to service or fix machines when needed.</p> <p>“Beforehand, two-thirds of my income would have come from cropping, now livestock would be three-quarters.”</p> <p>Average lambing percentage was about 110 to 115 percent, but was slightly lower this year due to “terrible weather” when ewes lambed in July-August.</p> <p><strong>Meaty profits</strong></p> <p>Ewes lamb in July-August and all sheep are shorn in November-December. For the past four years, all wether lambs have been weighed after shearing, with the heaviest two-thirds put into paddocks with grain feeders, and the remaining lighter lambs run on Kikuyu pastures.</p> <p>Lambs weighed, on average, about 25 kilograms liveweight at Christmas, and were sold in April-May at targets of 50kglw, dressing out at 20-22kg carcaseweight. He recently sold lambs for $5.20-$5.50/kgcw and was “very happy” with the price.</p> <p>“The later in the season I can sell them, the better the price,” Martin said. “It also means I can shear a fleece off them which is extra profit.”</p> <p><strong>Future focus</strong></p> <p>Electronic identification tags have been used to record bodyweight, fleeceweight and micron performance in ewe hoggets for the past two years. Martin says it creates better individual performance data in his flock.</p> <p>For the first time in 2016, Martin also used current wool, sheep and lamb prices to calculate a dollar value for each ewe based on their bodyweight, fleeceweight and micron. Values varied from $95-$147, after firstly culling 20 percent visually.</p> <p>“There was up to a $52 difference per animal between the top and the bottom of the ewes I classed, after first culling visually. It’s quite a difference,” he said.</p> <p>Pastures were also a focus for the future, with Martin saying Kikuyu pastures had been planted to give more green feed over summer.</p> <p>“One block had quite salty water, and previously we couldn’t run any young stock there, only about 200 wethers. We have now planted it to Kikuyu and have also connected the paddock to the mains water line, about three kilometres away, so we can have fresh water,” he said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="images/success_stories/martin-ramsay-sa.jpg" alt="martin ramsay sa" width="363" height="272" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12pt;"><strong>Case study - South Australia</strong></span></p> <p><strong>Farmer</strong> Martin and Howard Ramsay</p> <p><strong>Location</strong> Warooka, Yorke Peninsula, SA</p> <p><strong>Property size</strong> 1214 hectares</p> <p><strong>Average annual rainfall</strong> 450 millimetres</p> <p><strong>Enterprise mix</strong> Three-quarters self-replacing Merino flock, one-quarter sharefarmed crops</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size: 12pt;"><strong>Why Merinos? My top 3 reasons …</strong></span></p> <p><strong>1 </strong>Profitability –Gross margin returns in the past four years have averaged $241-$250 per winter grazed hectare</p> <p><strong>2 </strong>Performance – electronic identification has helped to put a dollar value on each hogget ewe, ranging from $95-$147 each</p> <p><strong>3 </strong>Enterprise fit –Merinos suit Martin’s enterprise as a sole operator after big returns with limited cropping land</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size: 12pt;"><strong>Stocking rate, bodyweight and fleeceweight drive Merino profitability</strong></span></p> <p><strong>&nbsp;</strong>MERINOS are the breed of choice at Martin Ramsay’s Glenayr property at Warooka on South Australia’s Yorke Peninsula.</p> <p>Martin, who runs the property with his father Howard, says while he had dabbled in crossbreds, for the past 20 years he had focused solely on his self-replacing 1000 ewe Merino flock, running about 2700 Merinos including lambs and hogget ewes.</p> <p>For 15 of those 20 years, Martin has benchmarked his flock, making solid improvements in increasing dollars per hectare. The current average gross margin is $94 per hectare per 100 millimetres of growing season rainfall.</p> <p>Martin says the economic returns helped him to decide to focus solely on a self-replacing Merino flock. This was because while the returns were similar for Merino and crossbred production, it was the fleece potential from the Merino wether lamb that caused overall Merino profitability to come out on top.</p> <p><strong>Driving profit</strong></p> <p>While about 374 hectares of arable land at the 1214ha property is sharefarmed, Martin focuses on livestock working with Landmark animal production specialist Daniel Schuppan to process benchmarking data.</p> <p>Merino profitability on-farm is driven by three key factors – stocking rate, bodyweight and fleeceweight – which Martin closely manages. Stocking rate had grown to 7DSE per winter grazed hectare with wool production at 24.5 kilograms/winter grazed hectare.</p> <p>“While these key factors vary year-on-year, I’ve seen a steady improvement in all of them since I’ve been benchmarking. This takes the guess work out of measuring profitability and you can get a clearer picture of where you’re going season to season,” he said.</p> <p>“Only half the land we have is arable and suitable for cropping, and we only sharefarm a portion of it. It wasn’t economically viable for me to run cropping in comparison to livestock due to machinery costs, and not having any machinery agencies or mechanics nearby to service or fix machines when needed.</p> <p>“Beforehand, two-thirds of my income would have come from cropping, now livestock would be three-quarters.”</p> <p>Average lambing percentage was about 110 to 115 percent, but was slightly lower this year due to “terrible weather” when ewes lambed in July-August.</p> <p><strong>Meaty profits</strong></p> <p>Ewes lamb in July-August and all sheep are shorn in November-December. For the past four years, all wether lambs have been weighed after shearing, with the heaviest two-thirds put into paddocks with grain feeders, and the remaining lighter lambs run on Kikuyu pastures.</p> <p>Lambs weighed, on average, about 25 kilograms liveweight at Christmas, and were sold in April-May at targets of 50kglw, dressing out at 20-22kg carcaseweight. He recently sold lambs for $5.20-$5.50/kgcw and was “very happy” with the price.</p> <p>“The later in the season I can sell them, the better the price,” Martin said. “It also means I can shear a fleece off them which is extra profit.”</p> <p><strong>Future focus</strong></p> <p>Electronic identification tags have been used to record bodyweight, fleeceweight and micron performance in ewe hoggets for the past two years. Martin says it creates better individual performance data in his flock.</p> <p>For the first time in 2016, Martin also used current wool, sheep and lamb prices to calculate a dollar value for each ewe based on their bodyweight, fleeceweight and micron. Values varied from $95-$147, after firstly culling 20 percent visually.</p> <p>“There was up to a $52 difference per animal between the top and the bottom of the ewes I classed, after first culling visually. It’s quite a difference,” he said.</p> <p>Pastures were also a focus for the future, with Martin saying Kikuyu pastures had been planted to give more green feed over summer.</p> <p>“One block had quite salty water, and previously we couldn’t run any young stock there, only about 200 wethers. We have now planted it to Kikuyu and have also connected the paddock to the mains water line, about three kilometres away, so we can have fresh water,” he said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Merino Success Story - James Derrick 2016-11-03T05:46:52+00:00 2016-11-03T05:46:52+00:00 http://merinos.com.au/news/294-merino-success-story-james-derrick Sally Hicks marion@merinos.com.au <p><img src="http://merinos.com.au/images/success_stories/james-derrick.jpg" alt="james derrick" width="317" height="238" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;"><strong>Case study – NEW SOUTH WALES</strong></span></p> <p><strong>Farmer</strong> James Derrick</p> <p><strong>Location </strong>South of Gundagai, New South Wales</p> <p><strong>Property size</strong> 2050.5ha</p> <p><strong>Average annual rainfall </strong>711mm</p> <p><strong>Enterprise mix</strong>&nbsp;30% feedlot, 20% contract spraying, 30% Merino and 20% cropping&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Why Merinos? My top 3 reasons</strong></p> <p><strong>1 </strong>Feedlot performance – Merino wether lambs come out $30/hd above prime lambs</p> <p><strong>2 </strong>Ease of management – Single breed enterprise is profitable and easier to manage, operate</p> <p><strong>3 </strong>Weight gain – Merino lambs have a good average weight gain of 210 grams a day over six weeks in the feedlot</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size: 14pt;"><strong>Merino wethers prove profitable in feedlot</strong></span></p> <p>MERINO lambs have proven, consistent returns up to $30 per head more than prime lambs at James Derrick’s Karoola Station feedlot in Gundagai, New South Wales.</p> <p>James, who runs the property with the help of wife Sheryl and son Andrew, has run a feedlot for the past four years, finishing 90 per cent of his lambs through the system. He also buys in lambs to finish, depending on the season, prices and available grain and feed.</p> <p>James says at current prices, a Merino lamb aged six months will cut about $18/hd worth of wool. Then fed for 42 days, and dressed out at 22 kilograms carcaseweight for a price of $4.80/kg, the lamb will gross $123.60/hd . If the $50 purchase price is deducted from this price, as well as the cost of feeding at $22 and a shearing cost of $5, this gives an approximate profit margin of $46.60/hd.</p> <p>In comparison, a second-cross lamb aged six months will cut approximately $6/hd of wool and if&nbsp;fed for 42 days, will dress out to 22kgcw at $5.80/kg. This lamb will gross $133.60/hd, less purchase cost at $90, feeding cost $22 and shearing cost $5. This gives an approximate profit margin of $16.60/hd.</p> <p>“There’s a $1/kg difference between second-cross lambs and Merino lambs, but once you add in the amount of wool that you can shear off a Merino, it becomes a $30 difference in the returns, with the Merino well ahead of the crossbred,” James said.</p> <p>During the past 12 months they have averaged a sale price of $140/hd for crossbred lambs and $125/hd for Merinos.</p> <p><strong>Merinos sole focus</strong></p> <p>The Derricks run 4500 breeding ewes, comprising 1800 first-cross ewes and 2700 Merino ewes. James plans to switch the flock back to 100 per cent Merinos and is in the process of phasing out the first-cross ewe flock.</p> <p>“I’ve done the calculations and Merinos come out on top,” he said. “I’m switching back for ease of management, it’s much simpler and more efficient to run a single breed enterprise. There may be a need from time to time to purchase second-cross lambs for the feedlot but I will no longer run terminal sires and breed my own lambs.&nbsp;</p> <p>“I feel the Merino lambs will more than fill the requirements previously filled by the crossbred lambs.”</p> <p>James said the feedlot began as he sometimes struggled to get lambs finished in time straight from the paddock.</p> <p>“I commenced feedlotting to gain control of finishing sheep for market when natural conditions are ever changing. It is an opportunity feedlot. It’s very easy and simple to run,” he said.</p> <p>“Now only finished sheep are sold, whereas before they had to be sold no matter their condition due to feed requirements or lack thereof. The feedlot makes it a more consistent income and keeps up a constant cashflow.”</p> <p><strong>Lamb turnover increase</strong></p> <p>While the feedlot was closed over June and July, due to excessive rainfall with 152 millimetres falling during these months, James plans to increase turnover from 6000 lambs per year to 10,000 lambs/yr.</p> <p>The feedlot usually runs from February to May then August to November, during milder weather, but covers and shade are being built to ensure lambs have shelter in the yards.</p> <p>Crossbred lambs enter the feedlot at 36kg liveweight and Merinos at 38kglw. All are shorn beforehand to clean them up and ensure they have a good, even pelt. Merinos enter the program at 38kglw so they meet weight gain targets more easily.</p> <p>Bought-in lambs have a five-day transition to being grain fed. First, they are trail-fed grain then introduced to feeders.</p> <p>Lambs are weighed every 10 days and sorted into pens by weight differences of up to 4-5kg. On average, Merino lambs gain 210 grams a day over six weeks, in comparison to crossbred lambs at 240g/day.</p> <p>They were sold at a maximum feed period of 42 days, or six weeks, at 22-23kgcw, and marketed either to a processor or through the Wagga Wagga Livestock Marketing Centre.</p> <p>Crossbreds are sold at six months and Merino lambs sold at eight to nine months to allow for shearing.</p> <p>“We’re quite lucky where we are located as we have a processor in Gundagai 20 minutes away, another at Junee 30 minutes away, then the Wagga Wagga saleyards also 30 minutes away,” James said.</p> <p>“Usually we take out some contracts four weeks out, but we also spot kill through the abattoirs, which means you can book in, then the following week drop lambs off for slaughter. To date all Merino lambs have gone to spot market not allowing any feedback at this time.</p> <p>“We constantly aim to have at least a $10 to $20 margin of profits for each lamb sold.</p> <p>“We keep a close eye on prices throughout the season and keep calculating feed costs as we go to make sure it remains profitable.”</p> <p><strong>On-farm diversification</strong></p> <p>Crops such as canola, wheat, lupins and ryegrass silage are produced on-farm, with all except for canola used in the feedlot.</p> <p>The average flock micron was 19M for Merinos and 26M for crossbreds, with genetics coming from the Derrick’s stud, Karoola Downs Poll Merino, started by James in 1987. Commercial adult ewes cut 7.2kg of greasy fleeceweight/hd.</p> <p>Lambs drop in May-June for stud ewes and June-July for commercial ewes, with shearing in early October. Lambs are weaned early, from eight to 16 weeks, so ewes can put on condition quickly, ready for mating.</p> <p>“I started out following the tradition of my father and grandfather,” James said.&nbsp;“It became my own passion and I got into the breeding of my own rams which led to me and my father starting our own stud with Poll Merinos.</p> <p>“Merinos remain profitable and always have some income with wool and meat value particularly in poll genetics. Merino ewes are necessary for a maternal cross in a prime lamb enterprise. Medium wools are well suited to our rainfall and climatic area with pasture and range country.</p> <p>“During my grandfather and father’s time the Merino enterprise basically contributed only a wool income.&nbsp;All other enterprises have been added in the past 10 years mostly through my own instigation and the need to diversify.”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="images/success_stories/james-derrick.jpg" alt="james derrick" width="317" height="238" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;"><strong>Case study – NEW SOUTH WALES</strong></span></p> <p><strong>Farmer</strong> James Derrick</p> <p><strong>Location </strong>South of Gundagai, New South Wales</p> <p><strong>Property size</strong> 2050.5ha</p> <p><strong>Average annual rainfall </strong>711mm</p> <p><strong>Enterprise mix</strong>&nbsp;30% feedlot, 20% contract spraying, 30% Merino and 20% cropping&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Why Merinos? My top 3 reasons</strong></p> <p><strong>1 </strong>Feedlot performance – Merino wether lambs come out $30/hd above prime lambs</p> <p><strong>2 </strong>Ease of management – Single breed enterprise is profitable and easier to manage, operate</p> <p><strong>3 </strong>Weight gain – Merino lambs have a good average weight gain of 210 grams a day over six weeks in the feedlot</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size: 14pt;"><strong>Merino wethers prove profitable in feedlot</strong></span></p> <p>MERINO lambs have proven, consistent returns up to $30 per head more than prime lambs at James Derrick’s Karoola Station feedlot in Gundagai, New South Wales.</p> <p>James, who runs the property with the help of wife Sheryl and son Andrew, has run a feedlot for the past four years, finishing 90 per cent of his lambs through the system. He also buys in lambs to finish, depending on the season, prices and available grain and feed.</p> <p>James says at current prices, a Merino lamb aged six months will cut about $18/hd worth of wool. Then fed for 42 days, and dressed out at 22 kilograms carcaseweight for a price of $4.80/kg, the lamb will gross $123.60/hd . If the $50 purchase price is deducted from this price, as well as the cost of feeding at $22 and a shearing cost of $5, this gives an approximate profit margin of $46.60/hd.</p> <p>In comparison, a second-cross lamb aged six months will cut approximately $6/hd of wool and if&nbsp;fed for 42 days, will dress out to 22kgcw at $5.80/kg. This lamb will gross $133.60/hd, less purchase cost at $90, feeding cost $22 and shearing cost $5. This gives an approximate profit margin of $16.60/hd.</p> <p>“There’s a $1/kg difference between second-cross lambs and Merino lambs, but once you add in the amount of wool that you can shear off a Merino, it becomes a $30 difference in the returns, with the Merino well ahead of the crossbred,” James said.</p> <p>During the past 12 months they have averaged a sale price of $140/hd for crossbred lambs and $125/hd for Merinos.</p> <p><strong>Merinos sole focus</strong></p> <p>The Derricks run 4500 breeding ewes, comprising 1800 first-cross ewes and 2700 Merino ewes. James plans to switch the flock back to 100 per cent Merinos and is in the process of phasing out the first-cross ewe flock.</p> <p>“I’ve done the calculations and Merinos come out on top,” he said. “I’m switching back for ease of management, it’s much simpler and more efficient to run a single breed enterprise. There may be a need from time to time to purchase second-cross lambs for the feedlot but I will no longer run terminal sires and breed my own lambs.&nbsp;</p> <p>“I feel the Merino lambs will more than fill the requirements previously filled by the crossbred lambs.”</p> <p>James said the feedlot began as he sometimes struggled to get lambs finished in time straight from the paddock.</p> <p>“I commenced feedlotting to gain control of finishing sheep for market when natural conditions are ever changing. It is an opportunity feedlot. It’s very easy and simple to run,” he said.</p> <p>“Now only finished sheep are sold, whereas before they had to be sold no matter their condition due to feed requirements or lack thereof. The feedlot makes it a more consistent income and keeps up a constant cashflow.”</p> <p><strong>Lamb turnover increase</strong></p> <p>While the feedlot was closed over June and July, due to excessive rainfall with 152 millimetres falling during these months, James plans to increase turnover from 6000 lambs per year to 10,000 lambs/yr.</p> <p>The feedlot usually runs from February to May then August to November, during milder weather, but covers and shade are being built to ensure lambs have shelter in the yards.</p> <p>Crossbred lambs enter the feedlot at 36kg liveweight and Merinos at 38kglw. All are shorn beforehand to clean them up and ensure they have a good, even pelt. Merinos enter the program at 38kglw so they meet weight gain targets more easily.</p> <p>Bought-in lambs have a five-day transition to being grain fed. First, they are trail-fed grain then introduced to feeders.</p> <p>Lambs are weighed every 10 days and sorted into pens by weight differences of up to 4-5kg. On average, Merino lambs gain 210 grams a day over six weeks, in comparison to crossbred lambs at 240g/day.</p> <p>They were sold at a maximum feed period of 42 days, or six weeks, at 22-23kgcw, and marketed either to a processor or through the Wagga Wagga Livestock Marketing Centre.</p> <p>Crossbreds are sold at six months and Merino lambs sold at eight to nine months to allow for shearing.</p> <p>“We’re quite lucky where we are located as we have a processor in Gundagai 20 minutes away, another at Junee 30 minutes away, then the Wagga Wagga saleyards also 30 minutes away,” James said.</p> <p>“Usually we take out some contracts four weeks out, but we also spot kill through the abattoirs, which means you can book in, then the following week drop lambs off for slaughter. To date all Merino lambs have gone to spot market not allowing any feedback at this time.</p> <p>“We constantly aim to have at least a $10 to $20 margin of profits for each lamb sold.</p> <p>“We keep a close eye on prices throughout the season and keep calculating feed costs as we go to make sure it remains profitable.”</p> <p><strong>On-farm diversification</strong></p> <p>Crops such as canola, wheat, lupins and ryegrass silage are produced on-farm, with all except for canola used in the feedlot.</p> <p>The average flock micron was 19M for Merinos and 26M for crossbreds, with genetics coming from the Derrick’s stud, Karoola Downs Poll Merino, started by James in 1987. Commercial adult ewes cut 7.2kg of greasy fleeceweight/hd.</p> <p>Lambs drop in May-June for stud ewes and June-July for commercial ewes, with shearing in early October. Lambs are weaned early, from eight to 16 weeks, so ewes can put on condition quickly, ready for mating.</p> <p>“I started out following the tradition of my father and grandfather,” James said.&nbsp;“It became my own passion and I got into the breeding of my own rams which led to me and my father starting our own stud with Poll Merinos.</p> <p>“Merinos remain profitable and always have some income with wool and meat value particularly in poll genetics. Merino ewes are necessary for a maternal cross in a prime lamb enterprise. Medium wools are well suited to our rainfall and climatic area with pasture and range country.</p> <p>“During my grandfather and father’s time the Merino enterprise basically contributed only a wool income.&nbsp;All other enterprises have been added in the past 10 years mostly through my own instigation and the need to diversify.”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>