Sheep Handling Challenge


 “With the motto ‘Investing In The Future’ president of the WA Stud Merino Breeders Association, Steven Bolt, said, the Western Australian merino industry promotion this year has included introducing events that encourage and engage students with merino sheep.   

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Have you ever wondered why some animals consistently perform while others fade ...

Nominations are being accepted by the Australian Merino Sire Evaluation Association (AMSEA) for the 2016 joinings of the AWI / AMSEA Merino Lifetime Productivity Project.

Have you ever wondered why some animals consistently perform year in and year out whilst others fade with time? 

Are there any factors that might help us to better predict superior lifetime performance at young ages?  With the growing influence of the lamb industry on Merinos, what’s the impact of selecting for growth, reproduction and carcase traits on lifetime wool productivity?  Do animals selected on breeding values at a young age have better lifetime productivity?

An exciting opportunity exists for ram breeders to be part of the Merino Lifetime Productivity project that aims to answer these and many more industry questions.  A partnership between AWI and AMSEA will see sires entered into four standard sire evaluation sites and all their ewe progeny retained for annual joining, classing and lifetime assessment.

 Would you like to nominate your top sires, good all-rounders, trait or index leaders, good doers or show winners in this important trial?

The sites will operate like a standard sire evaluation site – following the rigorous and independently assessed measured and visual assessment protocols.  At the conclusion of the standard sire evaluation (generally once progeny are between 18 and 24 months of age) AWI will support the ongoing measurement and visual classing of all ewe progeny through 4-5 joinings and annual shearings.  The number of ewes joined to each sire will be increased to 90 ewes to ensure that there will be sufficient ewe progeny numbers throughout life.

Entrants at these sites will receive a full range of results; extensive professional classer assessed performance and within site breeding values as well as ASBVs.  Regular field days will be held at sites for ram owners to inspect their sire’s progeny, receive updates on the progress of the project and network with fellow Merino producers.

The broader aims of the Merino Lifetime Productivity project are to:

  • Validate the current breeding value technology across sheep types and environments
  • Where necessary, provide the evidence and data such that current systems can be enhanced to more accurately predict lifetime productivity.
  • Provide the industry in a commercial environment the cost benefit relationship of measuring multiple adult traits throughout the lifetime of an animal.
  • Provide a substantial amount of reproduction records to the MERINOSELECT database, allowing the industry to more accurately assess the relationship between all the components that make up lifetime productivity.
  • Provide a common focus for a wide range of ram breeders with differing breeding philosophies.

We are looking for a range of sires to join in 2016 – and are taking nominations now. 

Sire entry will incur standard sire evaluation entry costs which range between $2500 - $3000 depending on the site.


  • Follow this link to the Merino Superior Sires website to download the Nomination Form and return by 20th of November
  • If selected – have 92 doses of semen available (the project will purchase at $10 per dose semen beyond that which is normally be required for a standard sire evaluation trial)

Need more information?

  • Please pick up the phone and call either Ben Swain, AMSEA Executive Officer on 0427 100 542 or, Anne Ramsay, Merino Lifetime Project Manager on 0400 368 448.


2015 Ram Sale Success

Merino ram sales have exceeded many expectations this spring selling season with most on property ram sales lifting on last year.  Sale highlights include of a top of $81,000 at the annual Willandra ram sale, a sell out at the Yarrawonga sale and the Adelaide ram sale averaging $8,997 with a top of $38,000 for a Moorundie ram, followed closely by White River at $37,000.  At the Adelaide sale 78 rams sold out of 89 offered.  And it is not only the rams that are popular, young Merino ewes sold to a top of $235 last week at the Hay, NSW sale with other lines also hitting the $200 mark.

For the first time in Australian history, and with figures now compiled for 2014, Australian Poll Merino rams outsold Merino rams.  The “all purpose” flexibility of the Australian Merino is now being better understood and showing the benefits of quality and quantity of wool fibre with meat characteristics that rival some meat breeds, particularly in traits such as eye muscle depth. With greater emphasis on fat traits and fertility the female progeny offer an improved maternal /replacement ewe for the flock.

The challenge is to ensure that the unique Australian Merino fleece qualities and quantity of cut are not compromised with the efforts to provide an all-rounder for the sheep industry.  Some of the earlier efforts at increasing the poll merino genetics proved this to be a challenge which has been met with strong measures to keep improving this fleece performance.

Willandra Top Priced Ram

Ross Wells with Will008xGP - Photo taken at Sheepvention 2015 by Marion Gibbins



Hinesville Champion Sale Ram

Drew Chapman of Hinesville Merino Stud won the Champion Sale ram at the Rabo National Ram Sale in Dubbo on 26th August with Nerstane Merino Stud following with the Reserve Sale Ram.

Wurrook wins Ram of Year at Dubbo

Paul Walton of Victorian stud Wurrook, won the Merino Ram of the Year judged at the Dubbo Ram Sale and Show this week.  This completes an exceptional year for the stud which has taken out major honours at both the Australian Sheep & Wool Show, Bendigo and at Hamilton Sheepvention.


Photo courtesy The Land
Paul Walton Wurrook-Photo courtesy The Land
Wurrook Merino Ram of year 2015

Hamilton Sale tops $21,000 for Glen Donald

Hamilton Sheepvention Ram Sale catalogue listed 67 pens of 5 Merino Rams for Sale on Tuesday. Sale average was $2646.

See Terry Sim article below for more information:

IT will be a bit of a homecoming when the top-priced Merino at the Hamilton Sheepvention ram sale arrives in the Monaro region of New South Wales. The $21,000 ram was sold by Landmark for Robert Harding’s Glendonald Merino stud at Nhill at the ram sale yesterday.



Sheepvention Show Awards for Victoria

Grand Champion Ewe: Glenpaen Merino Stud

Victorian stud, Glenpaen continued their success in the show circuit winning the Grand Champion Ewe at Sheepvention with the same ewe that also took out the honours at both the Australian Sheep & Wool show at Bendigo and the Ballarat Sheep Show.

Photo above: Harry Miller Glenpaen Merino Stud with Tom Hawkins,Geelong Football Club and Pat Millear, Judge at Sheepvention

Grand Champion Ram: Wurrook Merino Stud

In a quirky twist, the Grand Champion Ram award was taken out by Wurrook Merino Stud, Rokewood, Victoria, with a long wool Fine wool ram, with a different ram to the winner of both shows at Bendigo and Ballarat.  Orrie Cowie Poll Merinos from South Australia was also a strong challenger in the medium and broader classes with their Poll Merino lineup and won the Reserve Champion Ram of Show.

Photo below: The Champion Ram sashed in the championship lineup at Sheepvention.


Photo below: Reserve Champion Ram awarded to Orrie Cowie Poll Merino Stud, South Australia.



Australian Sheep & Wool Show - Result Snippets


SA premiers at the 2015 National Merino Pair Awards

South Australian stud, Greenfields, won the National Merino Pair judging on Friday night at the Australian Sheep & Wool Show.
Considered the most prestigeous national Merino competition, state finalists included a line up from Merino studs: Greenfields (SA), Nerstane (NSW), Wilgunya (Qld), Navanvale (WA) & Glenpaen (Vic). 
  • 2015 Supreme Merino Exhibit was awarded to Wurrook (Vic), who was earlier judged Grand Champion Superfine Ram of Show.
  • 2015 Grand Champion Merino Ewe awarded to Glenpaen (Vic).
  • 2015 Australian Merino All Purpose Champion awarded to Terrick West (Vic).


  • 2015 Championship Fleece of Show awarded to Trefusis (Tas)  Photo of Georgina Wallace at the Australian Sheep & Wool Show 2015 with the Champion Fleece.


  • 2015 Young Studmaster Achiever Award: Alan Hobley  won from WA.


Agriculture Grants for Women


In 2015 Women & Leadership Australia is administering a national initiative to support the development of female leaders across all sectors.

From July 1 2015 the initiative will provide women in the agriculture sector with grants for leadership development. More specifically, grant applications are open to women employed in the agriculture sector at two levels. Please click on the preferred program link for details.

  1. Senior      Management and Executive level Women Leaders can apply      for $12,000 Individual Grants to undertake the Advanced Leadership Program.
  1. Women Managers can      apply for $4,500 Individual Grants to undertake the Accelerated Leadership Performance Program.

Expressions of Interest
To request a Scholarship Grant Application Form or additional information click here.

Should you wish to discuss the initiative in more detail please contact Ian Johnson at the office of the National Industry Scholarship Program, Australian School of Applied Management on 03 9270 9000 or via