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One-stop sheep shop at Dowerin GWN7 Machinery Field Days

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Bob GarnantCountryman
Brett Jones.
Camera IconBrett Jones. Credit: Countryman

Woolgrowers and sheepmeat producers will have a variety of breeds to inspect at the Dowerin GWN7 Machinery Field Days with two venues, including the Viper Ram Shed and the Milne Marquee, housing some of the best quality genetics in WA.

Dowerin livestock marshal Brett Jones said there would be 26 Merino studs and six meat sheep studs on display with representatives of each stud on hand to greet visitors.

He said the display of stud sheep was an integral part of WA’s field day circuit.

“It allows stud clients an opportunity to inspect a range of Merinos and meat sheep types in the one-stop-shopping place,” Mr Jones said.

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“After Dowerin was cancelled last year because of COVID, we are expecting a big crowd as interest is expected to be enthusiastic for agriculture and livestock with peaking high prices and an excellent feed year.”

The Viper Ram Shed, that houses the Merinos, will also contain lots of commercial displays along with a display of the 2020-drop progeny from the 12 sires that were entered into the Muresk Institute’s Superior Sire Evaluation project.

The project, which launched in 2016-17, evaluates each sire’s progeny and their expressed traits relative to the progeny of the other sires.

The trial flock is run at the Department of Training and Workforce Development’s 898ha Spencer Brook farm with manager Steve Wainewright overseeing the project.

Each of the 12 sires is AI-bred to 50 ewes that are easy-care types with good conformation and constitution and are medium to large-framed with bright and white stylish wool, free from colour and water faults.

The project is a joint venture between the Stud Merino Breeders Association of WA, the Australian Merino Sire Evaluation Association, and Muresk Institute.

In his role as the AMSEA Muresk Institute site chairman, Mr Jones said the project data outcome, which included a wide variety of performance measurements, gave the ability for producers to select genetics that had been benchmarked.

“This makes perfect common and commercial sense,” he said.

Mr Jones said progeny from the 12 sires, including Merino ewes and wethers, would be shorn at Dowerin.

“Progeny will be shorn and a fleece weight recorded for each Merino ewe or wether with results displayed for both individual and progeny group averages,” he said.

Other project results will be on display including measured and visual assessments for wool and carcase traits.

“When analysing all the data, it is important to keep in mind that the project is based only on an assessment of an individual sire, which can be made useful in the stud selection process,” Mr Jones said.

“During the shearing, Mr Wainewright will give an update on Muresk Institute’s Superior Sires project.

“At previous Ram Shed events this has attracted a crowd around the raised one-stand shearing platform.”

In the Milne Marquee, meat sheep breeds will be on display and agricultural students will take on the challenge of junior judging.

Click here to view the digital edition of the program.

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