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Wether Trial winners worth their weight in wool

At the culmination of a three year long competition, the inaugural winner of the Northern Tablelands Wether Trial Cup was announced at a presentation on Thursday 28 April at the Glen Innes Agricultural Research and Advisory Station.

The three year long wether trial – a collaboration between Northern Tablelands Local Land Services and NSW DPI - allows local breeders to benchmark the performance of their flocks against other producers in the district. Twenty-five local landholders each supplied ten Merino wethers to the trial when it began in 2012, with the sheep run in a combined flock at the Glen Innes Research Station.

Steve & Robyn Johnston from ‘Oakhurst’ at Deepwater were named the 2012-2015 winners, with their team of wethers averaging the highest value for combined wool cut and carcase value calculated on average dollars per head.

The results were based on wool clip data from 2013 to 2015, combined with the final carcase results from processing at Wallangarra in late January 2016.

“Steve and Robyn’s wethers definitely cut lots of wool. They had large sheep that were high performers in both wool and carcase production,” reported Northern Tablelands Local Land Services Livestock Officer, Brent McLeod.

The winner of the Paul ‘Beaver’ Lennon shield for 2015 was also announced at the presentation. The Shield is awarded each yearto the team that cuts the highest value of wool during that year’s shearing, calculated on a $/DSE (dry sheep equivalent) rating.

The 2015 shield was awarded to DB, JC & NA Lanz of ‘Yarramundi’ at Deepwater.

“The Lanz family are terrific supporters of wether trials.  Their wethers had stood out as the team to watch throughout the trial having cut the highest value of wool (dollars per head) for both the 2014 and 2015 shearing, and the highest value of wool ($/DSE – dollars per dry sheep equivalent) in 2015,” said Brent.

“Both the Johnston and Lanz families should be proud of their results which reflect not only their efforts in management, but also the attention they pay to sheep breeding.”

With the 2012-2015 competition done and dusted, the 2015-2018 Northern Tablelands Wether Trial competition is already up and running with entries from as far afield as Walcha, Uralla, Bendemeer, Armidale, Bundarra, Manilla, Deepwater and Dundee.

“We have 39 teams from across the region entered in the new competition, a big increase from the 25 teams we had last year.  We actually had interest from more than 50 landholders, but as we were limited to a maximum of 39, some previous competitors generously agreed to step aside to allow newcomers to participate.”

“It’s a long term commitment to put sheep into a three year long trial, but the competition is an excellent tool for producers to compare how different bloodlines can affect overall profitability.”

“It also allows producers to benchmark the performance of their sheep against other entrants running in a combined flock in the same paddock under identical conditions.”

“If you use the trial results in conjunction with selection technologies to cull the bottom of your flock you can rapidly increase your genetic gain.”

The first shearing in the 2015-2018 competition will take place in November this year.

For more information about the Northern Tablelands Wether Trial competition contact Brent McLeod on 02 6730 1931 or 0413 884 710.