At Ioness Poll Merinos principal Rob Coutts strives to breed Poll Merino rams that punch out soft, white wool, while producing a square, sound framed ram.
He was driven to start the stud when he couldn’t find Poll Merino rams that combined the productivity traits he wanted and would suit the pastures and conditions around Lake Bolac.
So he founded the stud in 2002 and registered it just over a year later. While the stud was founded on traditional superfine wool with rams of Merryville bloodlines from Kooringa, for the past 16 years Mr Coutts has purchased sires to move to a more modern, dual-purpose type of sheep.
On display and available for sale at this year’s field day on Friday, October 19, will be a selection of 40 young rams, with the plain body and quality fine wool Ioness aims to breed. All of the rams are “100 per cent paddock-raised”.
Mr Coutts said they have grazed pastures, being supplemented with hay and oats. Having rams thrive under commercial conditions is paramount to Mr Coutts and his growing client base.
“I need to select the rams I use based on how they and their progeny perform under commercial conditions.”
Many of the sale rams have been sired by the Kedleston Park Poll Merino ram purchased at the stud’s on-property sale in 2016.
A selection of ram lambs bred from a line of Moorundie Park blood ewes purchased privately and sired by the Kedleston Park ram, will also be available to purchase. At Ioness Poll, select rams are joined naturally to the 230 stud ewes.
“We don’t do artificial insemination or embryo transfer work, we prefer that the rams can perform on their own,” Mr Coutts said.
Today, the 2400 commercial ewes run on the property have been bred with Ioness Poll genetics.
A new stud sire introduced recently is the One Oak top-priced ram purchased at Hamilton Sheepvention in 2017. Mr Coutts said the May 2016-drop, 17-micron Poll Merino ram was well-balanced and suitable for both wool and meat production.
“The ram caught my eye at Sheepvention. It has a terrific frame, terrific structure and stands very squarely,” he said.
This year, a ram from the Langdene stud at Dunedoo, NSW, was also added to the Ioness Poll stables.
The son of a Pemcaw-bred ram, the 16.6 micron young sire impressed Mr Coutts with his frame size, doability and wool quality, boasting fleece measurements of 13.3pc coefficient of variation, 99.9pc comfort factor, and 2.2 standard deviation.
In the past year, Mr Coutts has also changed his management to shearing every six months with the latest clip results featuring a staple length of 80 to 85 millimetres.
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