Positive outlook for Merinos at field days

Kate MatthewsCountryman

Stud breeders at last week's Newdegate Machinery Field Days say confidence in the industry is on the up.

Both Merino and non-Merino breeders said inquiries were high on both days.

In the second year of the Better Choices Merino marquee, Bayer's Matt Atkinson said the number of studs taking part increased from 14 to 20. "The Better Choices tent is putting Merinos back on the map in Newdegate with some really good studs setting up and exhibiting," Matt said.

"Having an extra 20 studs really gives people a reason to come to the Newdegate field days if they aren't into broadacre cropping, and even if they are, they can come and have a look at Merinos and the cropping gear."

Travelling 350km from Mukinbudin was Athol Ventris, from Calcaling stud, which has increased the number of rams for sale this year by 20 to cater for the increased confidence.

"Wool prices have made a big difference and some are turning back to Merinos," Athol said.

"Talking to people here, the general feeling is the season is reasonable. Most are looking for a good rain to finish the season off."

Lewisdale Wickepin stud breeder Ray Lewis said the task now was to build up the Merino flock.

"Having the marquee is the best thing for the Merino industry.

"The genetic gains are available so we are working as an industry and not competing against one another."

Non-Merino breeders also reported high levels of interest including Kaya Dorpers and Allstock's veterinarian Michylla Seal.

"There has been quite a few people inquiring as well as in the Allstock side with interest in AI and ET," Dr Seal said.

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