Balanced breeding through MerinoSelect & visual selection
Annual On Property Ram Sale:
Thursday 26th October 2023
Our Poll Merino ram breeding program started in the early 90's and has used a range of bloodlines in pursuit of the best possible genetics. In 2002 our flock entered the Merino Validation Program, thereafter it has been fully measured with complete pedigrees recorded on Sheep Genetics Australia. We aim for the right balance between visual selection and performance recording.
Our main aims/achievements are to:
Increase fleece weight
Improve carcase traits (growth, fat & muscle)
Maintain a low micron (approx. 18)
Plain bodied and wrinkle free sheep
Breed worm resistant sheep
Other aims/achievements include:
Bright white crimped wool
Dermatitis and fleece rot resistant
Good type and structure
Good mothers and number of lambs weaned
Sheep that perform in all conditions (wet or dry)
To ensure that our flock remains at as low of a disease risk as possible we have kept a closed flock since 1999 with new genetics only being obtained through (frozen semen) artificial insemination.
All rams are:
Brucellosis Accredited (856)
Accredited Vaccinated for OJD (Since 2002)
Vaccinated for Scabby Mouth
Vaccinated with with 6 in 1
Drenched before the sale
Cobalt and Selenium Bulleted
We stopped mulesing our stud rams in 2007, this was the first step in transitioning to a non-mulesd flock. To make gains in minimal breach wrinkle, bare breach and dag scores we had to be able to objectively measure them. After a decade of measurement and genetic selection we were able to completely stop mulesing on our whole property in 2018. While we are not for or against the practice, we do want our clients to have flocks that are able to stop if they choose (or are forced) to stop mulesing in the future. Premiums in the market are already making it worth it for us.
We continue to utilise MerinoSelect to improve our studs performance and productivity, along with a thorough visual selection process. We are meticulous when it comes to data recording, as breeding values are only as accurate as the data put in. To make the most of our genetic gain we have used genomics and DNA testing coupled with embryo transfer and artificial insemination, pushing us forward to produce the rams of the future.
One of our main breeding aims at Ella Matta is for worm resistant sheep. We have been taking individual faecal samples from all stud ram lambs since 2001 with an aim to minimise drenching. Subsequently our flock is becoming increasingly more genetically resistant to worms.
Recording at Birth
We mother up, tag, maternal score, and record any lambing trouble or lamb losses in the paddock. Not many studs in Australia go to this level of effort, but this data is invaluable for us to breed sheep that have more lambs, with minimal assistance at birth. Essentially giving us much more accurate and valuable reproductive breeding values.
Muscle and Fat
We continue to push better muscle and fat in our Poll Merinos (without sacrificing wool, the main profit driver). This provides better carcase value and the gives the sheep more do-ability to keep performing in tougher conditions. While it is correlated somewhat to reproductive performance, it is much better to select for that directly, with say NLW (number of lambs weaned) breeding values.
Bred For The Real World
Our sheep are run in as close to commercial conditions as possible, and selected accordingly (i.e. rams not kept/hand fed in sheds, and ewes lamb in the paddock). To breed sheep that not only survive but thrive in commercial conditions, they need to be bred and recorded in commercial conditions! We put this to the test in own commercial Poll Merino flock.
Quality Rams Guaranteed
We are very strong on customer satisfaction and guarantee our rams. We believe that our rams are of the highest quality and speak for themselves.