Well structured, easy care poll animals
First and foremost it is about the ability of the animal to do the job. There is no point investing in genetics if the delivery system is faulty, so structure is of massive importance to us. There is a much higher demand on farmers’ time these days, so the animals need to be easy care. This means that animals need to be polled, wrinkle free, open faced and the ewes need a frame capable of easy birth.
BALANCED growth, muscle and fat
Improving lamb growth rates to reduce weaner mortality and decrease unit cost of production. An increase of 0.25-0.5kg/month can reduce the mortality risk by 74%. An increase of 10% in weaner growth rates can also decrease fodder costs by 5% by getting to market weight faster. This 5% saving can then be directed to the ewe.
Muscle for higher yielding lambs because this is what we get paid for. Muscle is also related to ewe condition score. Higher muscled ewes gain condition faster and, more importantly, lose it slower.
Fat for great meat-eating quality. Also, for every mm of YFAT there is an increase in the number of lambs born, particularly in tough years. (+18 per 100 ewes per mm of YFAT).
Increasing weaning percentages
Increasing weaning percentage is entwined with our selection for balanced growth muscle and fat as these all impact on weaning percentage.Increasing weaning % by 10% in a self-replacing flock improves gross margin by 5%.
Increasing wool profit per hectare
Increasing wool yield by balanced selection of staple length and staple strength.
Increased staple length to allow for 6 monthly shearing.
Decreased ewe mortality through selection for muscle and fat to improve ewe condition.
All of our selection traits impact on each of our breeding objectives. Many are negatively correlated but many are positively correlated. It’s all about balance