February 2019

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.