Coromandel Poll marks 50 years of excellence

Coromandel ET-bred ewe 190019, sired by Yarrawonga 140961, the ewe measured 18.6 FD, 2.6 SD, 13.7 CV, 100 per cent CF, 83.4 Y, 110mm SL and 59 SSn/Ktex.
Camera IconCoromandel ET-bred ewe 190019, sired by Yarrawonga 140961, the ewe measured 18.6 FD, 2.6 SD, 13.7 CV, 100 per cent CF, 83.4 Y, 110mm SL and 59 SSn/Ktex. Credit: Countryman

Celebrating 50 years of performance breeding, Gairdner-based Coromandel Poll Merino stud was founded by Ian Campbell in 1971 and is now run by his son Michael and his family.

“My father moved his family to Gairdner in 1966 from Birregurra in western Victoria,” Mr Campbell said.

“He realised the new land on WA’s south coast had an environment that required a certain type of sheep that would handle the unique environment and soil types.

“In 1968, my father started breeding a soft white woolled Merino with a large plain body.”

Mr Campbell said his family had traditionally bred Merinos for many generations, but his father had a passion to breed Poll Merinos.

“He considered joining the Australian Merino Society, which was using objective measurements, but wanted to be in control of his own breeding direction with the Coromandel stud,” he said.

“Performance breeding was considered important to improving the stud and at shearing, when fleeces were tested and weighed, the data on the maiden ewes was considered to select the top-performing animals.”

Mr Campbell said the sheep were subjectively classed for sound structure and growth with the wool scores scrutinised for fleece faults.

“This created a great basis for selection that is still continued at Coromandel today,” he said.

“We decided to join MerinoSelect in 2002, when Sheep Genetics began measuring Merino carcase traits.”

Mr Campbell said eye muscle depth, fat and growth had been recorded at the stud since then.

“These important and historical recordings of body weights, fleece tests and wool weights allowed us to benchmark our animals against the Sheep Genetics database,” he said.

“The original formula that my father began in the late 1960s is still the basis for selections of our animals.

“There must first be sound structure, free of faults with good growth rates plus an emphasis on easy care types able to perform in the south coast environment.”

Mr Campbell said he then looked at the Australian Sheep Breeding Values to fine tune the selection of sires and breeding dams.

“We began our embryo transplant program in 2005 to accelerate genetic gain,” he said.

“One of our original ET ewes, 020466, performed amazingly and proved to be an elite dam.

“A few of our ET-bred Poll Merino rams have been sashed grand champions at the Australian Wool and Sheep Show at Bendigo.”

Mr Campbell said he had ram buying clients that used RamSelect’s indexes to identify the best rams to select, benchmarked against their own flocks, to improve performance.

“We have benchmarked our sires in the Yardstick sire evaluation program and the Merino Lifetime Productivity Project and other evaluation sites for many years,” he said.

“I am proud to carry on my father’s vision to breed high performance Poll Merinos suitable for a wide range of environments.”.

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