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The True Dual Purpose Merino


MANY Merino studs are now starting to promote the dual purpose benefits of the Merino, but Lewisdale stud principal Ray Lewis has been doing it for years. “The Australian Merino is the most profitable dual purpose sheep in this country,” he said. “We had wool sell this year that achieved a top of 582c/kg for our better 18.6 micron line. “This works out to approximately $1100 per bale. “When you take into account meat prices at the moment combined with your wool returns, the Merino still works out to be a very productive dual purpose sheep and it is self replacing.“We also sold a line of 11 month old wether lambs back in June to Fletchers, which made $72. “These were bare-shorn lambs with nine months of wool cut off them, which would  have being equal to $25-30, so there is $100 per sheep right  there. "We also sold a line of 800 young surplus ewes recently for  $100. Ray said the modern Merino needed to be plainer and more fertile - attributes that have been selected for at Lewisdale for a number of years now.The Merino has always been regarded as not being as fertile as some other breeds, but we have recorded lambings of up to 127pc in some mobs,” he said.

Typical Lewisdale 2-tooth Poll rams  

Lewisdale stud sires

 “If you manage your sheep flock correctly there is good money to be made. “If many farmers put as much into their sheep as they do into their cropping program, they would see their returns increase significantly. “Pregnancy test your ewes and if there are any dry ones mate them again – it is all about getting lambs on the ground.  “Economics has driven the Merino to a different shape and ewes must be able to produce or they go out the gate.”  Last year's on-property ram sale saw Lewisdale sell 300 rams under the hammer for a $1311 average. “It was good to see repeat clients from all areas of the state in attendance and the feedback we have had from clients as to the performance of Lewisdale sheep has been encouraging,” Ray said.At the Lewisdale stud special attention is paid to the ewe breeding flock.  "Ewes are such an important part of the Merino industry, and we for several years now, we have been selecting our ewes to suit the modern day farming requirements," Ray said. "With the current labour shortage we need to be breeding an easy care, low maintenance sheep. This means we need plain, yet productive sheep that require little attention, such as the ewes pictured above." Ray said lambing percentage was now more important than wool cut in a self replacing flock. "With the way the meat market is now, more lambs on the ground means more money and while we still concentrate on wool quality, we are also aiming to breed a highly fertile Merino ewe and we are achieving that aim," he said.  "We are breeding ewes that are 21 micron, 70pc yield and are regularly achieving over 100pc lambing.

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A typical Lewisdale fleece - white, bright and soft Lewisdale stud ewes - selected for frame, wool cut and fertility

 Contact: Ray and Helen Lewis +619888 1022 - Mobile 0429 100 641
 Wickepin, Western Australia
 email: rphelewis@lewisdale.com.au

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