Apparel Wool, Meat for a Feast

Combination of traits gives Dohne advantage in northern NSW

“It was a business decision to pursue the meat market and its been a good one. The Dohnes are easy to manage, are highly fertile, do well in the feedlot and yield well.’’

Justin O'Brien 1

The combined carcass and wool value of Dohnes is proving the goods in a vertically integrated broadacre cropping operation in northern New South Wales.

The O’Brien family of Walgett value add their cereal and pulse crops through an on-farm sheep feedlot, turning off up to 8000 Dohne mixed sex lambs a year to the domestic and export markets.

The lambs are produced by the family’s 4000 Dohne ewe flock and also sourced from other regional commercial purebred flocks.

The lambs have a week’s induction in the 3500 head capacity feedlot on a barley, faba bean and pellet ration then move on to self feeders with 75% barley, 20% faba beans and 5% pellets.

Average daily liveweight gains are 280 to 300 grams to give a net feed conversion of one kilogram of body weight to four kilograms of grain consumed.

Lambs enter at 35kg liveweight for an eight-week feeding period, while lambs 40kg plus are fed four to six weeks, with exit liveweights at 50kg.

Fletchers

The last consignment of 597 Dohne lambs were sold to Fletcher International, Dubbo, in May for $6.50/kg dressed at an average liveweight of 60kg.

The average carcass weight was 28.7kg and the average value including skins of $14, was $200.66.

“The last lot of lambs yielded 47.9% and we use that feedback to fine tune the feeding program,’’ Justin said.

“We know if it is a 55kg lamb at exit, it will dress at 25.5kg.

“We never had any problems with fat cover – they are a leaner animal with less wastage for the butcher.’’

“It was a business decision to pursue the meat market and it’s been a good one. The Dohnes are easy to manage, are highly fertile, do well in the feedlot and yield well.’’

O'Briens

Justin and Dennis O’Brien at Cryon Station

Practical Guide
Dohne Database