The long growing season meant that the majority of our haymaking happened in December. We also sold and delivered our surplus, old proven breeding ewes to clients just before we were able to begin harvesting grain crops. We sold wool in the final sale for 2016 and were delighted with the results.
Harvesting of our pulse crops, lupins, peas and beans was slow because of frequent rain events, fire ban days and high yields. We wish you all a Blessed Christmas and Happy New Year for 2017.
The last month of Spring completed a good growing season for the year, with plenty of feed to be carried over through the dry months expected in summer and autumn.
We completed delivery of rams to clients, classing and crutching our breeding ewes, classing client’s hogget ewes, shearing our 2016 drop lambs, selecting ewes for our Artificial Insemination program, and subsequent preparation for and implementation of that AI program. We had purchased semen from two leading proven Dohne sires that were complete outcrosses from our flock. This was used over a portion of our selected ewes; the remainder were paired with our own best rams so that we can benchmark the performance of progeny.
Natural mating using our own as well as purchased sires included testing of our up and coming young rams.
We get a great deal of pleasure when our clients do well with their livestock. One of our long term clients recently offered 1,200 wether lambs on Auctions plus, and was happy with the result. For the second year in a row, another client of ours bought a line of these; they had finished very well on pasture only last year, and performed well over the hooks.
Jamestown market is the biggest centre for selling breeding ewes in South Australia North of Adelaide. At the 6th October market, the highest priced line for the day was a small pen of just 46 F2 Dohne ewes from Glen Holme clients Indoota Pastoral Co at Riverton. The buyer, a Stock Agent from Keith SA, described them over the phone to his client as “clearly the best ewes in the market” These surplus ewe hoggets made $205 per head in what was described as a hard market in the Agents report. Glen Holme clients are well rewarded in the marketplace. It is particularly pleasing to see our longest term clients doing so well.
Recording of the most promising weaner lambs and mothers has given us a look at the high performing dams. This is an important phase in choosing key mothers in the up-coming breeding programme.
More deliveries of rams have allowed us to make brief farm visits.
The wet spring has ensured ample pasture growth for the first time in 5 years.
Lotting order and details of Sale rams went out early in the month as promised. Strong winds and heavy rain disrupted preparations for sale day.
It certainly was a challenging month. Indeed the whole year has been a difficult time for sheep; especially young ones. Most producers in South Australia observed dry conditions in autumn, with a late opening rain which led to slow pasture growth. This was followed by a cold, wet winter and stock did not do well. Rams were only just beginning to “bloom” by sale day. Several weeks of wet weather pre-ceded our Auction. 171 mm of rain fell here in September, more than twice average!
None-the-less, we managed to have rams (nearly) dry. We sold 66 rams at auction, to a top of $2,500, and an average of $1,266. The top priced lot 13 went to long term clients Indoota Pastoral Co from nearby Riverton. We offered some ewe hoggets for sale as well, these were bought by existing clients. Delivery of rams and the ewe hoggets began to local and Mallee areas.
We were buffeted by the storms, drenched by another 110 mm, and experienced the electricity blackout in the final week of the month.
This month has been terribly cold and wet with shearing and fleece assessments able to be done on the rain changes. Seeding continued whenever possible. Selected mobs of ewes lambed in June as planned. These lambs arrived onto green feed and the ewes did not require any supplementary feeding.
We shore our adult ewes before the majority of the rain fell in early March. We had 50mm by the 12th March. Green feed is appearing.
Wool quality was very pleasing, and seems cleaner than the last few years. Better care of pastures is the likely reason.
We had a wonderful group of young folk come in to shear and shed hand for us: it is good to have a stress free shed!
In preparation for offering some proven sires at the Global Dohne Conference in Dubbo in July this year, we have also shorn some specially selected sires. These are looking very well, and we can now feel that it is time to offer some top genetics to the rest of Australia and the overseas visitors who attend.
We have a presence at the South East Field Days at Lucindale in South Australia, a region with 5 million sheep. We welcome clients and friends to come and see us. We can also showcase our sheep to prospective buyers, and promote the benefits of the Dohne breed.
Lauren went to the Grains Research and Development Corporation sponsored technical update and Damien has done some training on using our Stoll sprayer. Allen has been in Melbourne for a few days for the face to face meeting of the Australian Dohne Breeders Association National Council.
Joy and Allen continue to develop their marketing skills through meeting with other business owners. Joy's work with a large, progressive, family owner machinery dealership brings her into contact with many people in Agriculture.
We firmly believe that our sheep will perform under different environmental conditions. In an effort to ascertain that, and to benchmark our genetics against others in various regions in Australia, we have a philosophy of entering our sires in various research and Sire Evaluation trials. We have entered a number of our rams in the Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) Resource Flocks to allow for a vast number of tests to be carried out from birth to carcase evaluation. We have also had some nominated Glen Holme Sires accepted for Sire Evaluation in other States.