Early in the month Allen was able to have a flying visit to Western Australia to enjoy a catch up with some of the Dohne stud breeders, attend a couple of Auctions, and visit a few farms to see some sheep. It was good to get the WA perspective after seeing some of the New England region sheep in NSW earlier in the year, and other Eastern States Dohnes at Bendigo and Hamilton in July and August.
Our Auction went very well with 81 of the 91 rams offered selling at Auction for our best average to date of $1564. A modest top price of $3000 was paid by a commercial client. Other rams found new homes soon afterwards. Thanks to all successful purchasers and underbidders for this result. We also sold 171 2018 drop commercial ewe hoggets and lambs for an average of $231.
Our attendance at the Yorke Peninsula Field Days at Paskeville was a good chance to meet with people from near and far to discuss the advantages of Dohnes in the Australian sheep industry. We showcased a 5 year old ewe and another who was 6. Both were in 10 months wool to show how well Dohnes maintain quality throughout a long productive lifetime. Our Sire that produced the Champion Dohne fleece at the Royal Show in Adelaide impressed visitors with his stylish wool and calm, friendly temperament.
We weaned our early group of lambs bred through AI or Embryo transfer. They are already showing the depth of muscling and twist that can be found here.
We were awarded the Champion Dohne fleece at the Royal Adelaide Show. This had been grown by one of our Sires. He is Glen Holme 162503, and he has a long wide body with a superb top-line and attractive, stylish white wool. He has two groups of progeny here and just recently a group were born as part of the 2019 drop in the Balmoral Sire Evaluation.
Going to the Sheep and Wool show in Bendigo has been memorable for the companionship of the other Dohne Breeders sharing the events in our Marquee, and for some measure of success.
Our 2 year old ram was awarded National Champion.
If you missed seeing us in the Dohne Marquee at the Australian Sheep and Wool Show, Bendigo, this year, we had the following document available to collect - Glen Holme Dohnes Bendigo 2019
We finished planting our winter crop. Good rains have come for us and feed is becoming more plentiful. Backup lambing commenced late in June.
Preparations for our participation at the Australian sheep and Wool Show in Bendigo are proceeding with our team of four rams looking good. We have tagged lambs from three of these four, and they are pleasing at this stage. We look forward to watching them develop.
Allen and Lauren attended the Sheep Genetics Regional Forum in Adelaide, we continue to progress our data capture and reporting skills. The value lies in the predictability of breeding values (ASBV’s) of the Glen Holme flock. Clients purchasing rams from us benefit from this.
We have been blessed with good rains. The land comes back to life, and fresh grass grows.
Our trip to Pooncarie Field day on the lower Darling River in NSW gave us greater insight in to the variability of seasons. Some stations had received good rains while other had measured very little.
People told us clearly how well the Dohnes had been performing in the drought and how pleased they were with the sale prices received. The reasons given were consistent; Dohnes hold their condition when times are tough and are also efficient converters of feed.
Early lambing has finished, and we have mothered up and tagged lambs in their Sire groups. This gives us a first chance to evaluate the appearance of progeny groups. With a fresh emphasis on wool style and staple length, we were keen to see how some first time hogget sires performed. The results were very pleasing.
Excitement was felt here as the eagerly awaited lambs arrived from our November AI and Embryo transfer programmes. We had good success with ET, over 60% of recipients lambed, but the AI result was astounding. More than 115% of lambs were tagged for the ewes mated. The combination of external sires used alongside some of our own proven rams will give us a robust test of top genetics.
We featured an outstanding ram at Karoonda Farm Fair early in April. He drew a lot of attention due to his length of body, structure and heavy fleece that is naturally lustrous and stylish. He is our 2019 drop entry in the Balmoral (Vic) Sire evaluation trial. The ram is Glen Holme 162503, and his Balmoral evaluation trial lambs are due in Spring. We have tagged his second group of lambs at Glen Holme now, and we will use him more widely in the future.
Three major activities occurred this month.
Our display at Lucindale featured a Dohne Sire who has been accepted in the 2019 Sire Evaluation at Balmoral in Victoria. He has a rich, stylish fleece on a superb frame and has a balance of growth rate and fleece weight. This is evidenced by his having top 10% status for Post Weaning Weight and Clean Fleece Weight.
We also showcased the results, to date, of the 2018 drop at Balmoral featuring another Glen Holme sire. The latest published charts of information from the MPL 2016 drop of ewes was available. This was testament to all the claims about Dohnes; they grow quickly, have high quality fine wool, and are very fertile.
Allen attended the Leading Breeder Conference in Dubbo, hosted by Sheep Genetics Australia. This was motivational, with many high-quality speakers and presenters. Leading breeders from various sheep types and breeds were able to gather to share application of the latest tools to promote genetic gain whilst honouring animal welfare needs and addressing social concerns.
Shearing our mature ewes occurred in the last week of the month. The quality was very pleasing when you consider the dry season and shortage of feed. This is testament to the “do-ability” of Dohnes, and a tremendous combination to go with their growth rates and fertility.
It is a good time to be a woolgrower.
The power of Dohne genetics has been revealed in the latest results from the Merino Lifetime Productivity (MLP) trial at Balmoral in Victoria. Allen and Joy made the trip to the Sire Evaluation Field Day held in the Balmoral-Harrow-Coleraine district in Western Victoria. This is a 600mm winter rainfall area, and we were keen to see our sheep have performed in the environment there.
There are now two Glen Holme Dohne Sires involved in trials there, with a third that has recently been accepted for the 2019 drop of lambs. The MLP 2016 drop ewes from Glen Holme 141077 have weaned their first lambs and been shorn for the third time. The results so far are entirely predictable in that the Dohne shines in the high profit-driving areas of weight gain and number of lambs weaned.
In greater detail, whilst the Dohne ranked among the lowest 25% of the 25 Merino and Poll Merino sires for wool cut, near average for fibre diameter, he outshone all others for number of lambs weaned. This 2016 drop group of ewes that is being evaluated for all aspects of production for their lifetime were near the top of weaning weights as well.
Fertility is highly correlated to body weight and condition scores, which has been known for a long time, and the Dohne has proved his worth again in a talented field of industry sires. Glen Holme 141077 daughters weaned 97% of lambs as maidens, with the next nearest at 94%, and the lowest three at 56%, 52% and 49%. There is a huge opportunity for some sheep breeders to increase their profit enormously simply by changing their ram source.
The 2018 drop of weaners also contained a group sired by Glen Holme 151450. These looked extremely well and were within 100 grams of the top weaning weight. Much the same story as the Dohne representatives born in 2016. The whiteness of fleece was particularly pleasing given the very wet spring that the area experienced in 2018.
Allen spend a few days in Armidale in the New England tablelands in NSW to attend a Dohne Council meeting. He is nearing the end of his third term as councillor for the Australian Dohne Breeders Association. His greatest interests have been in the fields of Genetic Gain and Genomics. Over the last few years this has led to attending meetings with Sheep Genetics staff, the Sheep Cooperative Research Centre and Australian Merino Sire Evaluation Association. These meetings were important elements of the time in Armidale this month.
He was also able to see some rams bred in this summer rainfall area that is currently experiencing severe drought.
Our own sheep have held their condition well, despite the dry season of 2018.
New sheep yards have been our focus.
Hot days this month saw a new temperature record at Glen Holme. We reached 47C on 24th January which was the week that we started removing the old yards in readiness to put up our new design.
The old yards had been in place since 1966, the year that our woolshed was built. They were built of white gum which was sawn using a portable timber mill at Kulicup in Western Australia.
Our new yards came from a design we saw at one of the Field days where we display our Dohnes. These were modular, and we had them fully linked to our woolshed and other infrastructure by the end of the month. The project was a full family affair with all our adults and children helping.
We implemented a back-up joining of our ewes with the assistance of a programme to enhance our genetic gain. The June 2019 drop of lambs will be interesting to track, because as a group, we have employed a new tool from our toolbox. The wool quality of our sires is the best we have ever had.
We often talk about genetic gain. Why is this so? All of us in business are subject to increasing costs of production. We need to make constant genetic gains in terms of profitable productivity and feed conversion to even stay ahead. To make continuing profits, genetic gains must exceed increasing costs of production.
The yardstick for measuring gain is based on a balance of income from sales of wool, lambs and surplus sheep. Profit is highly influenced by the number of lambs weaned, and the saleable weight of surplus sheep. Any large increase here makes a huge difference to profitability and sustainability. It also enables optimal flock recovery from low numbers following drought.
Genetic gain of the Glen Holme Dohnes is trackable and is benchmarked against all other Dohnes in Australia. We can show you this if you choose to inquire from us.
Grain harvest was the major focus. Despite a significantly dry growing season where only one month exceeded the long-term average, yields were acceptable, and quality was the highest in living memory.
We have written new articles to help empower sheep producers, you can find them under the Dohne Solutions tab in the main menu.
This month has been exciting, with an Embryo Transfer Program and a big step forward with wool quality on our paddock mating sires.
It is five years since our last ET Program and we enjoyed the expertise of Brecon Breeders for this and a modest AI event. This was our most prolific Embryo harvest to date, and we used 2 outside sires and one of our own proven young sires, Glen Holme 161908. His progeny born in April this year are exceptionally good types.
Our group of single mated sires includes a cohort of 2017-drop hoggets with significantly improved fleeces than had previously been available. This means we are excitedly awaiting our observation, measurement and tracking processes for the coming 2019 lamb drop; these will become available at our 2020 sale.
2020 a sight to see!
We have finalised our Field Day schedule for 2019. We plan to be at
Lucindale for South East Field Days, March 2019
Karoonda Farm Fair, April 2019
Pooncarie (NSW) Field Day, May 2019
Australian Sheep and Wool Show, Bendigo, July 2019
Sheepvention, Hamilton (Vic), August 2019
Yorke Peninsula Field Days, Paskeville, September 2019
We also plan to have Dohne fleeces on display at the Royal Adelaide Show in September 2019.
Selection of our high performing Donor ewes for an Embryo Transfer Program next month is complete. Much thought and research has gone into this process, and the ewes have been inspected multiple times since weaning. We will run a modest AI program at the same time.
Delivery of rams purchased at our On-Property Auction is largely complete.
After weaning lambs, we crutch both the ewes and lambs. This allows us to collect Dag and Urine Stain scores for submission to Sheep Genetics. We now have provided enough data for our stud to have Research Breeding Values (RBV’s) switched on. These can be publicly accessed in a search of our flock, stud number 510184.
If you wish to have some coaching as to how to navigate the Sheep Genetics Dohne Merino Site, we are willing to help you. Please contact Allen, Lauren or Damien.
“You can have your cake and eat it too” has been our strong message to the sheep industry this year.
With extremely high prices for both wool and sheep meat, who would not want the ‘best of both worlds’?
In his welcoming remarks to clients and visitors to our On-Property Auction, Stud Principal Allen Kelly even ventured that you can also have your “steak” as well, because the high fertility of the Dohne gives plenty of lambs for sale and, importantly, plenty of ewe hoggets to make choices from. It is this luxury of choice when classing young ewes that allows for flock improvement.
Of the 160 2017 drop ewes that we offered on Sale day, 68% of them were from multiple births, including triplets and two quads. Of the rams offered, 48% were multiples.
Sale results- 70 rams sold at Auction to $2800 and averaged $1465.
Our family extends our thanks to all our buyers and underbidders. We wish you all the best for the upcoming season. The date for our next On-Property Auction is 19th September 2019.
Rains have come for us! Pastures and crops have benefitted. Sheep look well.
We have weaned the Autumn lambs which allowed us to see the performance of Sires and Dams as we weighted their lambs. We crutched and dag scored these weaners as well; one more step along the pathway of providing the best information for fly strike prevention through genetics.
We are looking forward to seeing some Flock Breeding Values (FBV’s) for Breech scores soon.
Sale rams were lotted and 90 specially selected for our 2018 Sale. Some of the rams that we took to the Australian Sheep and Wool in Bendigo will be offered as the first 3 lots.
The Australian Sheep and Wool Show at Bendigo was a new event for us. This was the first time we had taken sheep there. We had a team of five rams on display. We received two second place and a third place ribbons.
We have taken some visual scores on our young ewes prior to shearing .
We participated in Sheep Week by travelling to Penola in the South East of South Australia. Five other Dohne Studs joined us. It was an opportunity for us all to showcase the dual purpose attributes of our breed.
We shore the young rams that will be for sale in September at our On-Property Auction. We still physically mother-up all our lambs to determine their full pedigree. This is the first and important step in determining accurate breeding values for our sheep. Breeding values are a result of many measurements collected over the early life of each animal in addition to knowing it’s parents. ASBV’s (Australian Sheep Breeding Values) are used as a tool to predict the likely breeding outcomes for an animal.
April and March 2018
Field Day Season!
Lucindale and Karoonda host significant events that we attend. We enjoy meeting our existing clients and explaining the benefits of Dohnes to new acquaintances.
Our belief about involvement in Sire Evaluation Trials led us to participate in the Balmoral Sire Evaluation Merino Lifetime Productivity trial near Harrow in Victoria.
This is a long-term project that is heavily supported by AWI and industry partners, with a $13 million budget for a 10 year program.
The ewe progeny of a Sire will be kept until they are over 5 years old, with their own progeny measured for production.
Our entry is Glen Holme 141077, and we saw the ewe hoggets on February 16th at the Field Day.
Unsurprisingly, these 40 daughters measured as trait leaders (top 10%) for: Weaning weight WWT, Post Weaning weight PWT, Yearling Eye Muscle Depth YEMD, Yearling fat YFAT.
They were visually scored in the top 10% for: Breech Wrinkle BWR, Legs (Structural soundness) LEGS.
Other scored traits were also close to the top.
This pen of 40 ewes was particularly even in type, size and condition, which was pleasing, given that 45% on them were twins.
Unsurprisingly, they were not trait leaders in wool yield and wool quality fields, nor were they the worst. Glen Holme 141077 is after all a Dohne, not a Merino, and the Dohne breed aims to have a balance of production traits expressed.