Story sponsored by Hazeldean.
The astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson recently said: "Scientific literacy is the artery through which the solutions to tomorrow's problems will flow". And, for the agri-sector, this is truer now than ever before.
With the global population increasing by orders of magnitude, it is becoming ever clearer to commercial sheep producers that they need to breed more productive animals. If you're in the wool game, this means greater fertility, better structure and a high volume clip of low micron fleece.
Across the sector, more and more producers are using genetic markers and genomics to improve their bloodlines. Hazeldean is at the forefront of this movement.
As one of NSW's top producers, the stud has a sterling reputation for producing rams, stud ewes and high quantities of super fine fleece, all of which increase the profitability of their clients.
And, at their upcoming Spring Sales - the annual Hazeldean Riverina Merino Ram Sale on October 17 and the Hazeldean Merino Monaro Ram Sale on October 31 - the stud will release some of their top genetics to the market.
Hazeldean have been in the wool game for more than 150 years and stud manager Bea Litchfield says the secret to their continued success is the fact that they've never rested on their laurels.
They were the first stud in Australia to start weighing fleeces and they've always been fastidious note takers. They literally have generations worth of breeding data.
It was this commitment to evolving with the market that allowed them to gain their competitive edge and to this day they continue to make a conscientious effort to stay on top of the latest research and technology.
They also benefit from the genetic diversity which comes from having a large commercial herd. With more than 2500 stud ewes and 7500 commercial ewes, they have the ability to put a lot of pressure on the selection process. Or put simply, because they have so many sheep, they have the ability to breed the best.
Hazeldean's bloodlines are a highly sought after commodity. Each year they sell close to a thousands rams to commercial flocks across the country.
In fact, their breeding program has been so successful that their own commercial flock produces an average of 7.5kgs of 18 micron superfine merino wool, per head, per year.
"We focus on moderate framed sheep and profitability per hectare. We also use a lot of objective data and alot of measurements, fleece weights, fibre testing, so that the accuracy of the data is rock solid..." Ms Litchfiled said.
"When you measure data for as long as we have the predictability of our breeding program becomes reliable. So, when we sell a ram to our clients, we know it's going to do the job," she continued.
"In saying that though, we're still sheep people. We don't just breed sheep on paper. We use the numbers as a tool and then use our skills as stockmen to select the best article for our commercial client too...
"Numbers are important when breeding the traits that you can measure but you still need to have the knowhow to successfully breed the traits you can't measure for (like fibre quality and structure)."
This Spring, they will be releasing 800 of their top rams to the marketplace. They will sell 150 at Riverina, 250 at Monaro and they've already lined up more than 400 in private sales.
The annual Hazeldean Riverina Merino Ram Sale will be an on property sale at Rosevale near Hay on Thursday, October 17. (For details click here).
Similarly, the annual Hazeldean Monaro Riverina Ram Sale will be held on property at Hazeldean near Comma on Thursday, October 31. (For details click here).
For more information or a copy of the sale catalogue contact Bea Litchfield on 0427 933 103 or Jim Litchfield on 0417 676 561. Alternatively, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website: www.hazeldean.com.au
Story sponsored by Hazeldean.