Willandra Merinos believes in real measurement and present them in our catalogue accordingly.
FW% – we supply FWT as a %. The fleece weights are taken at the March shearing and are not really applicable to the animal in September. However the % figure indicates the animal’s relativity to the selected group of rams which entails some 350 animals, 100% being average fleece weight.
We want you to understand that this figure is unreliable due to the relative earliness of the measurement and the age variation of the group is more pronounced at this stage! But, as it is a commonly supplied figure by other studs, we do likewise.
The group is then group classed into probable and possibles with some animals culled for various faults (mainly structural faults). The fleece measurements (Mic., etc) are taken of the probable group closer to the ram sale date in time for the catalogue.
The probable group was weighed and scanned for eye muscle and fat in August. Again, because the weight isn’t a real time measurement in relation to the sale date it is supplied as a % relative to the whole group, 100% being average. As the group gets older the age variation reduces and this figure is more reliable.
We supply fat and eye muscle depth as they indicate the carcase qualities of the Willandra bloodlines. Vindicated in the PWMMC wether trial and our clients success. This trial showed the Willandra sheep as being amongst the highest yielding meat carcase, highest yielding clean fleece weight and highest fleece weights, which was dollars in the bank by a considerable margin. Also the fat measurement is important as the merino ewe needs fat for her fertility.
Also you may note that, anecdotally, our eye muscle measurements are among the highest (maybe the highest) in the merino industry. “Willandra Ellen” when she was measured at Deniliquin had a 46mm EMD, 10mm fat and 95.0kg BWT. Her EMD was 3mm better than the rams at the Bendigo Performance class.
In the days before our sale the selected rams are weighed and this weight is supplied on the pen card (not available for the catalogue).
Where the FW% and BW% is not supplied for the catalogue it is because they were shedded rams or ran under different conditions to the sale group. It is important to only compare like to like!
Understanding the measurements; remember “two out of three aint bad”.
The “holy grail” for sheep studs is to breed the animal which excels in all or even most measurement and if we did we’ve kept it!
What we present in our ram sale are the best balanced sheep, structurally, visually and productive. They meet our commitment to breed an animal which makes money.
An important interpretation of production trials is that “dual purpose” only lasts one year, i.e. you can only kill an animal once! If you keep your sheep (wethers) for more than one shearing then wool production is your most important economic driver. In the results for the PWMMC wether trial for example; two producers were ranked seventh and eighth in 2016 but over the lifetime (3.5 wool values plus 1 meat) they were ranked fifth and thirty ninth, the difference being the higher wool value! Our Willandra clients were ranked first and second in both categories!
When you peruse the supplied data you will see rams with measurements which are lower in a category and higher in others. Don’t condemn them for it. Make a balanced choice on your preferences, trust your judgement and trust your hands and eyes.