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Dohne sire evaluation day at Coonong Station

Article courtesy of The Land By Stephen Burns

Dohne sire evaluation hosts Sophie and Tom Holt, Coonong Station, Urana, with Don Mills, Australian Dohne Breeders’ Association.

Keen interest in the performance of their Dohne sires was evident during the annual sire evaluation field day at Coonong Station, Urana.

Hosted by Tom and Sophie Holt, and introduced by Don Mills, Kardinia Dohne, Corowa, speakers focused on the latest sheep industry trends, updated analysis of the recorded progeny and future prospects for the breed.

Presenters with Don Mills – Allan Casey, Ben Swain, Sophie and Tom Holt, Coonong Station, Urana, Jason Southwell, Jim Meckiff and Peta Bradley.

Among those who spoke, Allan Casey, Advanced Breeding Services, Orange, drew attention to the all too often under appreciated function of good udders, while Ben Swain, executive-officer of the Australian Merino Sire Evaluation trials brought the crowd up to date on the trial being held at Coonong Station.

“We are aiming at improving accuracy,” Mr Swain said as he went through the various Flock Breeding Values on each sire.

“They allow us to compare animals and estimate the genetic difference in the potential of the sires.

“But we still need to assess the progeny visually.”

Twelve Dohne and two Merino link sires had been entered by studs based in Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales for the trial which began with the 2021 drop.

Independent sheep classer and based at Orange Jason Southwell took the group through his overall assessment of the 2021-drop ewe progeny.

Mr Southwell said he has been fortunate in being able to participate in many Merino sire evaluations, which allowed him to fully appreciate the productive potential of the Dohne.

“The thing I noticed with this trial in particular was the lack of variation in type even though we have come up with different figures in tops and culls,” he said.

“But as an overall appreciation when classing the ewes, the evenness was what probably struck me immediately.

“That is one of the great things about this evaluation is that it has been conducted for some time, and it does start to show the animal’s true potential.”

Mr Southwell further noted that any ewes which were dry when coming through the classing race were not put into the top grade.

“I think sheep change constantly, but I think it was interesting that the sires which came up on the index also scored very well on the visual assessment,” he said.

“But you can see some sires have changed from their percentage of tops to culls from the first to the second classings.

“I am sure if we went through them again, we would see how they are developing over time, because we are measuring the longevity of the ewe.

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