What’s the best sheep type for a combination of prime lamb and wool production? This question has been debated by sheep producers for years. The Elmore Field Days have completed one and are currently conducting a second ewe productivity trial.

The main characters of interest are:

-          lambing percentages,

-          lamb growth rates

-          wool production

-          profitability

The trials are conducted by the Elmore Field days in co-operation with the Campaspe Lamb Producers Group. Sheep are shorn at the Elmore Field Days in October each year.

Photo of Sheep

Current Trial- Fertility, Lambs & Wool 2015-2019

Six breed types of ewes are being compared for prime lamb and wool production.  A total of 252 ewe lambs from 6 breed-types, each represented by 42 ewes are being joined to terminal sire rams.  Each breed type group was randomly selected from 3 properties

The ewe breed types are:

Border Leicester x Merino Crossbred ewes.  The most common prime lamb mother in the Elmore and northern districts.

Multimeat x Merino Crossbred ewes.  Multimeats are a composite breed based on White Suffolk genetics.  They supply rams that are DNA tested to carry 2 copies of the Booroola fertility gene.  These rams breed first cross ewes from Merinos.  The first cross lambs carry one copy of the gene.

Cashmore-Oaklea Performance Maternals (Composites).  Cashmore-Oaklea Performance Maternals (Composites) have bred sheep from the following breeds: Coopworth, Border Leicester and 11 other breeds.

Merino Loddon Valley.  The second most common prime lamb mother in the Elmore and northern districts.  Rams are predominantly Peppin genetics but some studs contain some South Australian Merino genetics. 

Leahcim Merinos.  Leahcim is a South Australian Merino stud that has a long history of selecting a meat type merino with low wrinkle, bare points, no need to mules but with high quality wool.

Centre Plus Merino.  Centre Plus is a group breeding scheme and registered Merino stud and in Central West NSW that  has achieved a good reputation from the high dual purpose and fine wool index ASBVs on the Sheep Genetics Australia website.

Click here to download the EFD ewe trial report from Feb 2018

 

 Sheep phot

First Trial- Ewes for the Future Lambs Wool & Profit 2009-2014

The first Elmore Field Days trial, Ewes for the Future- Lambs Wool & Profit began in 2009. The trial compared the merits of five alternative sheep tyes in the Northern Victorian enviroment of Elmore. 

The ewe breed tyoes were:

Border Leicester x Merino cross.  The most common prime lamb mother in northern Victoria.

Merino, Loddon Valley.   The second most common prime lamb mother in northern Victoria.  The sheep are mostly based on Peppin bloodlines with some influence from South Australian bloodlines.

Centre Plus Merino.   Centre Plus is a group breeding scheme and registered merino stud and in Central West NSW that aims to produce dual purpose sheep.

Dohne.   The Dohne is a dual-purpose breed developed in South Africa using Peppin–type Merino ewes and German Mutton Merino sires.

SAMM.   The Prime SAMM (South African Meat Merino) is a dual-purpose sheep originally bred in South Africa to produce heavy slaughter lambs at a young age as well as good quality wool.

View results here:

  pdf EFD EweTrial2011 14 Results Section 1 Summary pages1 12 (764 KB)

pdf EFD EweTrial2011 14 Results Section 2 MainResults pages13 46 (1.44 MB)

  pdf EFD EweTrial2011 14 Results Section 3 AdditionalDetails pages47 52 (454 KB)

 

To view a presentation on a economic analyses of the results given at the 2017 Bestwool Bestlamb conference ‘Ewes for the future – lambs, wool & profit.   Jan 2009 to Oct 2014’  follow the links below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zo2bzqfFssY&feature=youtu.be

http://agriculture.vic.gov.au/agriculture/livestock/beef-and-sheep-networks/bestwool-bestlamb/bestwoolbest-lamb-conference-videos

 

View Economic Results of First Trial:

 Click here to download- Profitability Analysis- Ewes for the Future- Lambs, Wool and Profit 2009-2013 (PART 1)

 Click here to download- Profitability Analysis- Ewes for the Future- Lambs, Wool and Profit 2009-2013 (PART 2)