Breeding the Most Efficient Ewe
By June 2015, the Australian sheep flock is forecast to decline 0.9% on year-ago levels, to 71 million head. 41 million of this population are breeding ewes, with 22 million being merino ewes for pure merino breeding. The merino continues to be the dominant breed in the Australian sheep industry although to continue this and to grow this percentage the merino ewes efficiency must become the number one breeding objective.
MLA & AWI Wool and Sheepmeat Survey
|Ewe Breeding Intentions||June - 2014|
|Ewes for Pure merino Lambs (million)||21.8||7.8||3.2||0.5||3.2||5.5||1.5|
|Ewes for Other Type Lambs (million)||19.0||7.1||3.1||0.7||4.8||2.7||0.6|
Ewe efficiency is a dam’s ability to maximise kilograms per hectare of lamb weaned and merino fleece value per hectare. Bundilla is unique within the Australian sheep industry having had this primary objective for 40 years. Bundilla has maternal genetics with full pedigrees on dams dating back 40 years. In 2014 at Bundilla we collected full pedigrees on 2601 stud lambs from 1930 full pedigreed Bundilla Stud Dams with a result of 135% lambs weaned. These dams cut 7.8kg of 18.7 micron. Bundilla stud Dams are run and assessed under commercial conditions to give us the best opportunity to identify genetics we wish to multiply and spread throughout the 4000 Bundilla commercial ewe base.
Superior Stud Dams are identified through their long term ability to rear top performing twins over three lambing’s while maintaining a high value fleece through their life time. These 15 to 20 dams are used in our annual embryo transfer program and have over the last 11 years contributed to 60% of the sires retained at Bundilla, to continue to take our genetic base forward.
We have always had a performance base approach for our genetic selection and our breeding objectives have never been traditional, instead our methods are unique and aimed at maximising genetic progress of our program. The Bundilla bloodline is now recognised as one of the leading maternal genetics within the Australian sheep industry, selling sires and semen to all states across Australia, which in the last five years has been incredibly rewarding for our family.