Apparel Wool, Meat for a Feast

Dohne Merino set to shine in Bendigo

Article courtesy of ACM (Kylie Nicholls) The Land​ Stock & Land​ Stock Journal​ Farm Weekly​ Queensland Country Life​

Australian Dohne Breeders’ Association president Greg Hall, pictured with his wife Liz, is looking forward to the Dohne Merino being the feature breed at this year’s Australian Sheep & Wool Show in Bendigo.

The dual purpose Dohne Merino sheep is the feature breed at this year’s Australian Sheep & Wool Show, with about 100 entries expected from studs across New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria.

Held at the Prince of Wales Showgrounds in Bendigo, Victoria, from July 19 to 21, Australian Dohne Breeders’ Association president Greg Hall from the Ulooloo stud, Hallett, SA, said the association is looking forward to being the feature breed at ASWS.

“It’s the opportunity to get everyone together, there are Dohne breeders spread throughout Australia, and showcase the breed at what is probably the biggest sheep show in the southern hemisphere, if not the world,” Mr Hall said.

“We are working closely with the ASWS organisers to create a strong presence for the Dohne breed with several special events planned as part of the celebrations.

“It’s an honour to have the opportunity.”

Kicking off on Friday, July 19, is the education program which Dohne feature breed convenor Darren Gurnett said was aimed at giving interested young people a greater understanding of both the Dohne breed and its attributes as well as experience judging sheep and wool.

This year’s event involves Longerenong College and Moama Grammar.

The Australian Dohne Breeders’ Association is hosting an Education Program at the Australian Sheep & Wool Show for young people interested in learning more about the Dohne breed. 

“The Australian Dohne Breeders’ Association is very keen on supporting young people coming through the sheep industry and has been running the youth program at ASWS for the past two years,” Mr Gurnett said.

“There will be stud stock agents and wool buyers on hand to explain the features of the breed and what to look for when judging sheep, while students will also have the opportunity to judge an in-house fleece competition.

“In the future, we hope to have more schools and colleges participate.”

Saturday will include a full program of Dohne showing, comprising individual classes for young and older rams and ewes and an April and June shearing, groups, pairs and also a natural bare breech class.

Judging the line-up will be South African Dohne breeder, Dries Pienaar, White Wools Dohne Merino stud, Eastern Cape, along with David Berrell, Midgery Dohne stud, Walgett, NSW, Tegan Falkner from Quality Wool South Australia and associate judge Kylie Fotuaika, also from Quality Wool SA, while MC on the day is Matt Rowlands, Elders, Swan Hill.

“All the Dohne judging and events will be held in our stand-alone marquee, which we hope will draw a large crowd,” Mr Gurnett said.

“Ethical Outback Wool from Coonong Station will also be showcasing their Dohne Merino garments with a daily fashion parade, while visitors to the marquee will have the chance to chat to breeders at their stud displays.”

Dohne studs from across New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria, will be exhibiting at this year’s ASWS.

As part of the feature breed celebrations, the association is holding a special dinner on Saturday, July 20, during the ASWS, and welcomes all founding and current Dohne breeders and sponsors to this event.

The Dohne Merino was established in South Africa in 1939 with an initial cross between a Peppin Merino and the German Mutton Merino.

This was a ‘one off’ cross and progeny were interbred and carefully selected, under strict scientific procedures to refine their characteristics, for high fertility, mothering ability, fast lamb growth rates and the production of quality Merino wool.

The breed was introduced to Australia in 1998 with the Australian Dohne Breeders’ Association formed in 2000.

“The Dohne is a true dual purpose sheep, it always has been and that’s where we want to stay,” Mr Hall said.

“The high conception rates and number of lambs weaned has always been an advantage of the Dohnes compared with the traditional Merino.

“During the past 20 years breeders have been able to improve wool quality significantly, with most Dohne Merino flocks averaging between 17 to 20 micron with a very high comfort factor, often measuring 100 per cent.

Quality Dohne wool garments from Ethical Outback Wool will be showcased in daily fashion parades during the three-day event in Bendigo. 

“The growth rates and higher yielding carcase of Dohne lambs has also made them very popular with feedlotters, with daily weight gains of up to 450 grams being achieved.”

Mr Hall said Dohne breeders are also involved in a range of research to fast-track the progress of their flocks, including full pedigree testing and detailed performance recording combined with rigorous subjective classing to maintain breed standards.

Studs across Australia are also testing their genetics in an innovative sire evaluation trial being run at Coonong Station, Urana, NSW, which is collecting extensive data on ewe reproduction and meat eating quality, along with wool, growth and visual trait assessments.

“Dohne breeders as a whole are very focused on pushing the performance of our breed as far as we can,” he said.

“The Dohne is the only sheep breed in Australia that requires studs to record and use full-pedigree and performance records and this has enabled breeders to make more informed selection decisions.

“As a result, we are seeing more consistency in the traits coming through.”

Mr Hall said the Australian Dohne Breeders’ Association would like to acknowledge and thank the sponsors that have come on board this year to support the Dohne feature breed at the ASWS including; Elders, Shearwell, Sapien Technology, Nutrien Ag Solutions, Riverina Wool Testers, Ethical Outback Wool, Quality Wool, Central West Genetics, Australian Community Media and Fox & Lillie Rural.

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