Merinos take trade lamb win

Barcaldine Downs show winning weaners at Isisford


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Blue ribbon: Barcaldine Downs manager, Duncan Ferguson, centre, with trade lamb competition organiser, Jan Taylor and competition advisor, Belinda McLeish, Western Livestock Nutrition. Photo: Sally Cripps.

Blue ribbon: Barcaldine Downs manager, Duncan Ferguson, centre, with trade lamb competition organiser, Jan Taylor and competition advisor, Belinda McLeish, Western Livestock Nutrition. Photo: Sally Cripps.

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A pen of Merino weaner wethers has walked all over Dorper, Aussie White and Coolalee entries in a new trade sheep weight gain competition run by the Isisford Sheep and Wool Show.

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A pen of Merino weaner wethers has walked all over Dorper, Aussie White and Coolalee entries in a new trade sheep weight gain competition run by the Isisford Sheep and Wool Show.

The three June-July 2017 wethers from Barcaldine Downs, entered to support the day, included one with a top weight of 56kg.

Duncan Ferguson, the manager of the central western Merino stud, said they weren’t a wether-growing operation, selling them each year on AuctionsPlus, and the ones entered had been randomly selected from what was left.

“I’m hoping it shows sheep graziers that Merino sheep grow a good carcase as well as wool,” he said. “The claims that they’re a multi-purpose animal were proven here today.”

The property’s blue team, which won the champion team award for weight gain and skin value combined, as well as well as being third placed team for weight value gain, first for single weight gain wether, and second in the skin value teams section, put on a combined 53kg over four months.

The 27 teams ran on open herbage and Mitchell grass downs at Notus Downs, south of Longreach, for four months from Australia Day and had a 100 per cent survival rate.

Competition advisor, Belinda McLeish of Western Livestock Nutrition, said the effect of cold, wet weather in early March had been dramatic.

“The meat sheep breeds didn’t like being wet – their gain went backwards, whereas the Merinos didn’t go back,” she said.

Some lambs, all self-selected by the properties represented, cut their teeth during the competition, which also had an effect on weight gain.

Each participant received monthly weight results.

Belinda said it had been a great initiative by the show society, because so many different sheep breeds were coming into western Queensland.

“The Merinos surprised everyone, they were so far ahead, but I think the medullated fibre people will adjust the age of their entries next time,” she said.

A number had selected larger animals that didn’t gain as much as their smaller rivals.

Ewes as well as wethers were in the competition.

Organiser, Jan Taylor, said people were looking for bigger framed females to improve their maiden lambing percentages.

Merino teams entered by Doug and Lauren Tindall, Janet Downs, Longreach, won both ewe and wether skin value sections.

A Notus Downs Coolalee entry topped the single ewe weight gain section.

Growers retain ownership, and the Barcaldine Downs teams will be on display at its September ram sale.

Results:

Weight value gain team

  1. Barcaldine Downs red (Merino)
  2. Notus Downs (Coolalee)
  3. Barcaldine Downs blue (Merino)

Weight value gain wether

  1. Barcaldine Downs blue
  2. Barcaldine Downs red
  3. Barcaldine Downs red

Weight value gain ewe

  1. Notus Downs
  2. Janet Downs (Merino)
  3. Jan Taylor (bought Merinos from Thargomindah)

Wool value gain team

  1. Janet Downs wethers
  2. Barcaldine Downs blue wethers
  3. Janet Downs ewes

Wool value wether

  1. Janet Downs
  2. Barcaldine Downs blue
  3. Janet Downs

Wool value ewe

  1. Janet Downs, all three places

Champion team (weight and skin)

  1. Barcaldine Downs blue wethers
  2. Barcaldine Downs red wethers
  3. Jan Taylor ewes
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