Improvement in the Merino Select figures this year

Prospective buyers will notice an improvement in the Merino Select figures this year.  This is due to the pedigree information is much higher than last year and a few other factors lifting the standard.  Even though it has been a challenging year in many areas in W.A this year, I want to encourage Merino Sheep producers to support the Challara Poll Merino Stud and invest into the next generation of genetics.  I have confidence that the Challara rams sold in 2017 will lift the standard of your stock.

Peter Wilkinson

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Peter Wilkinson Comments in the Farm Weekly -October 2016

AS a dedicated Merino stud breeder, I am concerned about some issues within the wool industry. Firstly, I want to ask the question to all wool producers – why do you breed Merino sheep? And if they are important to your farm business, what type of Merino sheep will make you more money? Are you satisfied that you have proven results and they are improving your flock? Do you have high lamb survival rates? I am asking these questions because it’s always important to question what we are doing and ifthe sheep we are breeding are mproving in standard.  If this is happening in your flock,well done!

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“I understand the comment I wrote in the Farm Weekly is controversial.  Some people think I am too negative & critical about some points  I was trying to make.  I want to make it clear to readers that issues that I raised in the article come out of observation, personal experience and some facts which this broader industry may not be aware of.  It is not written to give offence to anyone, but primarily to get sheep breeders to question what they are doing and that they are improving their genetics from the knowledge they have.

Challara Poll Merino Stud has also decided it is in their best interests to continue with Sheep Genetics Australia (Merino Select), while striving to keep a high level of pedigree information to give a fair representation of how our sheep are really performing.”

I wrote the comment in the Farm Weekly from a position of integrity, with the goal of trying to lift some standards within the wool industry.  I am sorry if people misinterpret this message or take offence to it.

To clear one thing up, I do find it confusing that our actual clean fleece weights have increased in the last two years, but Merino Select is suggesting by their figures that we have decreased.  After speaking to the experts, I can only put the perceived worse YCFW Merino Select figures on our lack of pedigree information.  This apparently needs to be above 60% at least, in order to provide good accuracy levels.  Even though Challara has a good depth of genetics with syndicate sires, 40% pedigree information this year was obviously not enough to reflect the true performance of our animals.

I believe through providing good accuracy levels next year, our Merino Select figures will look more favourable.”

Peter Wilkinson
(Challara)

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Challara ram off to Boyup at $2900, By MAL GILL

farm-weekle-article

REPEAT buyers ignored the wet and wild weather and came from as far afield as Boyup Brook, Southern Cross and Northampton for the Challara Poll Merino ram sale at Badgingarra last week. There were also seven new buyers registered on the day and a new client bought 13 top private-selection rams on the Sunday before the sale. The weather may have deterred potential buyers – there were 26 registered buyers, two fewer than at last year’s sale –with some regular clients unable to make the sale. But those who did brave the conditions were rewarded with a larger selection of rams than last year and showing exceptional wool growth –a Challara hallmark –since their March shearing.

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A tremendous breeding season so far at Challara

The season has been tremendous so far this year, as has been the case for much of the South West Land Division.  The excess feed has given us an opportunity to expand our sheep numbers. We have bought in 720 wether hoggets to sell in the shipping market & 1350 ewe hoggets most of which are to be sold off shears in September.  The sheep prices are returning to 2010 levels with Eastern States buyers gathering interest and the wool prices are at 10 year highs.  I can say with confidence that the rams to be sold at this year’s sale are of the best standard we have bred so far.  The test results and the visual aspects of the sheep are of a high standard.  The wool cut & carcass traits have noticeably improved from previous years.

Happy Breeding, from Peter Wilkinson.

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2015 Challara Ram Sale review, courtesy Farm Weekly

126 Poll Merino ram offered

  • 124 sold
  • Average Price of $1304
  • Top Price of $3800

31 Merino rams offered

  • 25 sold
  • Average price of $1024
  • Top price of $2400

Two more rams sold immediately after the sale privately.

Even though the average was down over $300 from last year’s outstanding result, there were plenty of positives to come out of it. The top end of the sale sold very well, there were plenty of affordable rams and  close to a full clearance. Buyers are coming from a number of different farming areas including Northampton, Morawa, Boyup Brook, Mukinbudin, Southern Cross and Wagin. My final positive thought about the sale is that the volume ram buyers this year were all return clients, who understand what our stud is trying to achieve through the SRS breeding system. We are also excited about the improvements coming through in the next generation of our Merino sheep.

Peter Wilkinson (Challara)

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Comment from Peter Wilkinson ~ Challara

“Even though the number of people attending the Challara Open Day was quite disappointing & discouraging, the quality of the guest speakers & the information delivered to the attendees was very good.

Dr Jim Watts delivered key messages on how the skin biology of the Merino sheep correlates to breeding the right type of wool among other things. John Kaarlson (a recently retired DAFWA vet & sheep researcher) told us the process of & importance of breeding worm resistant sheep i.e dag scoring & culling for daggy sheep.

Dr Andrew Thompson (a sheep research scientist for DAFWA & lecturer at Murdoch University) told us the importance of fat when selecting for rams, how best to interpret Merino Select data & among other things.

Greg Tilbrook (wool manager at Primaries) explained how our twice a year shearing is progressing through a sensitivity analysis. We have only just been able to justify shearing twice a year, but with the progress of our genetic improvement it will be a more profitable thing to manage. An eight month shearing would be more suitable if it can fit in with the farmers management operations.

I would be reluctant to have organise an Open Day again unless it was in partnership with the West Midlands Group.

Saying that, I appreciate that everyone is busy & has commitments.

Challara is doing its best to improve its own sheep breeding as well as their clients. The next generation of sheep are proof of that.”

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Managing your way to better sheep profit

Farm Weekly Thursday, April 16, 2015 By TAMARA HOOPER

THERE will always be areas of, any farming operation that, cannot be measured, economically, but managing, your breeding program to optimise your profit is something every sheep breeder can achieve with the right information available to them.

Aiming to bring this information to fellow WA Merino stud and  commercial breeders, Challara Poll Merino stud principals Peter and Emma Wilkinson again hosted their onfarm workshop and open day in Badgingarra last week.

“We really want to generate more confidence in the industry and the excellent research that is being done to help us improve our sheep genetics,”

Mr Wilkinson said.

“Having a balanced and sustainable system is key to your operation and to the future of the industry.

It truly is financially lower risk and a smart choice to incorporate sheep, the risk is reduced further and your bottom line is boosted if you manage the breeding properly.”

Read the full article “Managing your way to better sheep profit – Farm Weekly 16 April 2015 PDF

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High animal welfare practices when electing to give lambs a small mules

Even though many of our lambs don’t need to be mulesed with breeding a plainer bodied animal, we had to make the financial decision to mules again. Challara didn’t mules lambs in 2011 & 2012, but the sheep were being discounted by up to $30/head in the saleyards. There was also no premiums made from making the decision not to mules. The last two years we have had high animal welfare practices when electing to give the lambs a small mules. A pain relief called Trisolfen is applied to the mulesed area and is very effective.

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The Ovine Johnes Disease national system has changed

The Ovine Johnes Disease national system has now been changed. There is no longer a points system to be accredited. Challara Merino Stud has been vaccinating their lambs since 2012 with Gudair & was accredited with 4 points or declared OJD free before the national system changed. Challara would need to go through a certain process to meet the rules for selling sheep to South Australia & western NSW even though we have a vaccination program.

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Stud ewe hoggets as a measurement in the Merino Select system

For the first time, this year Challara has muscle scanned their stud ewe hoggets as a measurement in the Merino Select system. This will help identify ewes which have better fat reserves & early maturity traits.

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