A young ram from the Kelvale stud, Keith, has excelled in the SA Merino Sire Evaluation Trial as a trait leader for six flock breeding values and also produced the highest number of top sheep during visual classing.
Kelvale Poll 160088 was identified among the 2018 cohort of sires as a trait leader for staple length, staple strength, coefficient of fibre diameter, yearling weight, eye muscle depth and positive fat.
Stud principal Stephen Kellock said it was pleasing to see the evenness of 160088's progeny, with 25 of the 37 progeny classed as tops.
"We are not trying to breed culls but a consistent flock of commercial ewes," he said.
From a commercial aspect, it is a great forum to put our sheep into and show what we are doing.
With three generations of Kelvale bloodlines in its pedigree, 160088 had been selected for the trial by the Kellocks as being an "all round performer". It also had strong MerinoSelect figures.
"We knew it was the type that would soften up the wools and plain the sheep up which commercially everyone is trying to do - breeding bigger sheep with plenty of wool and easy care," he said.
Mr Kellock said sire evaluation was a great marketing tool, especially for those who did not show sheep.
"We don't shed our sheep and people don't see our sheep in the show ring. From a commercial aspect, it is a great forum to put our sheep into and show what we are doing," he said.
Keyneton Station is one of nine Merino Superior Sires sites across Australia which benchmark the progeny of nominated sires across a range of wool, weight and carcase traits.
Related reading: Sire evaluation trials not only about numbers
Another strong performer in the SA trial was Vic-bred Wallaloo Park Poll 161514, which was a trait leader for staple length, coefficient of fibre diameter and weaning weight.
Classer Paul Cousins, Burra, said there were three different types of sheep in the SA trial and considerable variation across the progeny from the 16 sires.
"A few sires did really well and some of those (rams) that were from studs breeding for one particular trait really stood out," he said.
The McMahon family, McPiggery, Lameroo, are hosting the SA trial for the next two years with 734 lambs marked and visually scored last month.
- Details: Full results at merinosuperiorsires.com.au
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