This year is showing the depth and quality of the Glen Holme breeding programme.
Estimated Breeding Values (EBV’s) and the Dohne Index can never tell the whole story of our animals, so we invite visits and inspections from people so they can see for themselves the top individuals and even-ness of whole mobs of our Dohne sheep.
The Sheep Genetics website encompasses all Australian bred Dohnes. Here are some facts gleaned from searches of that dataset as of 20th December 2014.
• Our top sire has remained unchallenged as the top ranked Dohne Sire since April 2014. He was purchased as a ram lamb in 2010 and is Pinedale 100358 (5100292010100358) The Sheep Genetics default search parameters are:-
1. Registered Sire of 25 or more progeny.
2. Used in 2 or more flocks with current drop progeny.
• Pinedale 100358 spent much of 2013 climbing steadily up the ranks of the top 10 Sires in Australia, and has 2 generations of progeny.
• We have bred 4 of the top 20 registered dams with 2 or more lambs out of a list that includes 33,791 dams.
• Of our ewe lambs, there are 2 in the top 5 and 4 in the top 20 of 54,302 ewes on the database.
• Of our ram lambs, we have 2 in the top 10, and 7 in the top 20 of 86,787 rams listed in that dataset.
The time has come for us to benchmark our genetics against others, and we have entered up-and-coming young sires in two national evaluation trials recently.
Enquiries and inspections are always welcome by arrangement with us.
We have seen the success of our 3 Embryo Transfer programs in November of 2011, 2012 and 2013 and we know the quality of the livestock produced.
We are now in a position, from both the quantity and quality aspects, to enter into negotiations from both domestic and overseas, for Export Quality frozen embryos to all countries, subject to international regulations. We would encourage early enquiry to enable all requirements of a request to be met.
Our Glen Holme ewes have proven to be wonderful mothers and we can show any prospective clients a number of drops of ewe progeny.
Delivery of rams to clients in the South East of SA has been a focus for this month. We happily deliver rams purchased at our on-property auction to clients who have travelled significant distances and have made prior arrangements for this.
Crutching of all our ewes is now completed with an unrivalled opportunity to see and assess every animal in our stud flock individually. Family traits can be best observed this way.
Rams are also in with ewes to bring on the next generation of Glen Holme progeny. Good use of the best young rams as sires means that generational interval is optimised.
We are delighted to have received some Champion Awards for our Dohne Fleece at the Royal Adelaide Show. This is the first year that there have been competitive classes for Dohne Merino wool there, and it follows being awarded Champion Dohne Fleece at Crystal Brook in August with a different entry. Crystal Brook is a Country Show in South Australia where there are significant sheep entries, particularly from Merino Studs. Read more
Glen Holme was one of eight studs participating in the inaugural South Australian Dohne Sire day at Crystal Brook show on August 9th. We took two sires and six of the best young rams from the 2013 drop. We also entered some ewe fleeces and won the Champion Dohne Merino Ewe fleece. This was the first time we have been able to show fleeces, and others are entered at the Royal Adelaide show in September.
Allen and Joy attended Lambex in Adelaide from 9th -11th . This was an extremely successful forum with a huge attendance of stakeholders involved with sheep and lamb industries. Joy spent most of the time staffing the Dohne display on behalf of the SA Breeders group and met visitors, distributed promotional material and spoke about the benefits of the breed.
Allen was able to attend some sessions and found it informative, motivational and encouraging. As the forum progressed, the important characteristics of the Dohne as a Maternal breed became more apparent. A Maternal breed is one where the female progeny are retained as breeders for the production of terminal lambs from sires like Poll Dorset or White Suffolk rams. If these ewes are dual purpose, then both carcase and wool attributes are profit drivers; this is where the Dohne ewe has a good fit.
Allen wrote an article about the maternal value of Dohne ewes, which has been picked up on the Australian Dohne Breeders Association website, but can be viewed here.
Lambing- Many of our clients are reporting excellent results from their flocks using Dohne rams this season. The early rains in South Australia have proven to be a bonus for producers. We have had reports of overall percentages as high as 118% and 130%, and Dohne cross Merino maidens at 116%. People are very happy with their change to Dohnes from what had been their status quo.
Shearing- Shearing of the 2013 drop rams and ewes is complete along with the on-farm fibre diameter analysis (OFDA) which includes CV and other measurements. Fleece weighing of the six month fleeces was carried out at shearing and OFDA a few days earlier. Carcase measurement data had been collected in March and included body weights, eye muscle depth and fat depth.
Visual observations have been taken for type, conformation, style and vigour/growth rate of both the 2013 drop coming up for sale in September and also this years lambs at marking time. These observations are written and collated across different years to identify the best parents.
Our young sheep have been classed ready for shearing in early June. The Classer’s comments were favourable and mentioned our progress and obvious concentration on breeding sheep with good feet.
We hosted a Bred Well Fed Well workshop with 20 participants. Bred Well Fed Well is an aspect of Making More from Sheep, and is funded by contributions from AWI and MLA. What made this workshop remarkable was that most participants were under 35 years old and nearly half were young women involved in farming businesses. We are very excited about the health of sheep enterprises in our area.
Our main lambing is complete, and with an early break to the season, lambs are off to a good start.
Glen Holme clients have made the sale topping news again with wether lambs in Dublin sale yards, making $165 per head and their wool had sold for 750c/kg. These wethers were about 9 months old. Happy clients.
Early in March, Glen Holme stud principal Allen Kelly took part in the Dohne National Roadshow for the South Australian and Western Australian gatherings of breeders.
Forward planning concepts were put to stud breeders at these meetings, and common positive, cooperative agreements were reached to advance the Dohne Merino breed in Australia.
Allen’s involvement was due to his role as a National Councillor that began in August 2013. While in WA, Allen took the opportunity to meet with the breeders socially and also visit their displays at the Wagin Woolorama.
February 2014 - Client Evaluation
A client was challenged to evaluate the value of Merino and Dohne rams within their flock.
The measurements, taken at approximately 10 months, showed that the Dohne cross lambs cut approx 1kg/head more wool and had body weights approximately 8-9kg each more than the control group of Merino lambs. Ewe groups were chosen to be equivalent to evaluate any differences between Merino rams or Dohne rams.
The results of this evaluation have led the client to change rams from Merino to Dohne in their self- replacing flock situation.
Economic evaluation in simple terms
An additional 1kg of wool worth approx $8 plus 9kg of body weight approx $14 carcass value = approx $22/head
If there were only 50 lambs / ram / year this would be worth an additional $1100 per ram to the grower for each year the ram was used.
This goes partway to explaining why commercial Dohne rams have often fetched a higher price at auction than their merino counterparts.
Clients with some years of experience using Dohnes in their flock understand this principle well.
If you are unsure of the benefit that Dohne rams could be to your enterprise, conduct your own evaluation. It can be as simple as dividing a mob of ewes equally (so as not to bias any results) and joining one group to Dohne rams and the other with your current practice. Treat them equally well. After a given time take measurements that are relevant profit drivers to your business – for example you may choose lambing/weaning percentage or simply as described above wool cut per head and average body weights. Compare the group averages. You may have more complex measurements that you wish to test, but fair comparison within your own enterprise does not have to be difficult and gives results relevant to your own location and management.