Bidding up to secure high quality rams has been one of the key factors contributing to Geoff and Sue Zacher's continued success in producing award-winning fleeces.
The Zachers, who farm on a 1500ha property just west of Coonalpyn, won the Classings Choice Commercial Fleece category of the Karoonda Farm Fair Wool Competition held earlier this month, with the winning entry also part of the Zachers' collection of three commercial fleeces with the highest average commercial value at $135.30.
Mr Zacher said he was "excited" to win the competition for the second straight year, and said they had worked hard to incorporate new genetics to develop a good wool cut in his Merino flock.
"We feel a sense of achievement for the effort we have put into our breeding over the years," he said.
"Basically we've just been buying better rams and breeding our own rams, getting a more even line of wool across the whole flock."
The flock is based heavily on genetics from Ridgway Advance Merino and Poll Merino stud, Bordertown.
The fleece was very much a progressive fleece visually due to a very bold and lustrous crimp with a silk-like handle.
The pair aimed to maximise fleeceweights and breed easy-shearing Merino sheep with a stylish crimp and well-nourished bright, white wool.
Last year's tough season meant while 500 ewe lambs were kept, all 400 of the Zacher's wether lambs were sold to other producers in December, in comparison to two-thirds normally being retained.
"If we've got the feed we'll carry some over until February, but if we haven't we just sell them all off," he said.
The flock measured an average of 19 microns with a staple length of 115 millimetres prior to annual shearing in September.
"We've decided to stick with the 12 month shearing, we don't think we're quite long enough to shear twice a year," he said.
The Zachers also have about 100 Murray Grey cattle, and grow wheat and barley on a combined area of 100ha. They also grow 1000ha of lucerne, which Mr Zacher was looking to expand.
"Lucerne grows all year round if you get rain. We've got quite a bit already but we're trying to get more," he said.
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SUCCESSFUL ENTRY PRAISED
Geoff and Sue Zacher's fleece that was crowned Classings Choice Commercial Fleece at the Karoonda Farm Fair Wool Competition was a deserving winner, according to Bill Walker, Classings Limited, Murray Bridge.
"The fleece was very much a progressive fleece visually due to a very bold and lustrous crimp with a silk-like handle," Mr Walker said.
The wool colour was also a standout feature of the fleece according to Mr Walker, who said the whiteness was not typical of SA genetics, but more like the high-rainfall area of Armidale, NSW.
"Add to that a 130 millimetre staple length and a 6.24 kilogram fleeceweight, it was no surprise it realised a $104 total fleece value," he said.
The winning fleece measured 18.1 micron and had a yield of 72 per cent, with Mr Walker saying it exhibited true length and density.
The Zachers have only entered for the past two years, but they have won the commercial fleece award on both occasions.