She is the woman behind many show ribbons, and this year a third National Fleece Competition title, but how exactly does Trefusis Merino stud’s Georgina Wallace produce sheep and wool of such high quality?
Mrs Wallace and her husband Hamish took over her family’s Ross, Tasmania, farm in 2007, taking on her father’s successful superfine Saxon flock.
She said his wool had built up a reputation, and was in demand from many Italian and Japanese spinners.
But when they made the move in 2007, the market wasn’t performing well, and through the support of stud classer Andrew Calvert and manager John Groves, she realised changes needed to be made.
“We weren’t making a lot of money from the Saxons, the ewes were only cutting 4.5 kilograms, and it was similar in the wethers,” she said.
In 2009, they made a big breeding decision to move away from the ultrafine, superfine clip, to more of a superfine, fine clip, and to do so, incorporated new genetics from Nerstane Merino stud, Woolbrook, NSW, and Langdene Merino stud, Dunedoo, NSW.
“The aim was to increase fleece weight, body weight and lambing percentages, and when you look at it now, those are the biggest profit drivers,” she said.
“The first drop of lambs hit the ground in 2010, and we’ve since built on that, now achieving some good results, like winning the Lionel Weatherly Trophy at the Australian Sheep and Wool Show (ASWS) this year for the best group of five Merinos.”
Ewes are now cutting an average of 7kg of wool, lambing percentages have gone from about 80-85 per cent to 105pc, and stud ewes’ body weight was previously averaging 50-55kg, but now averages 60-70kg.
Mrs Wallace said it had been incredibly rewarding to see significant improvements in such a short amount of time, and their plan was coming to fruition.
And she credits this to the “instrumental support” of Mr Calvert and Mr Groves, as well as the selection of “top impact” sires.
This included a share in a $52,500 ram, named Harvey, from Eilan Donan Merino stud, Elphinstone, that was purchased last year, after winning supreme Merino champion at the ASWS.
She said Harvey’s lambs were born in August, and were showing great potential.
This desire to select top quality rams that will have a big impact on the flock won’t change, she said, and she’s always got her eye out for these across the country.
It was the third time in the last four years that the stud took out the National Fleece Competition this year, and Mrs Wallace said these and other showring results prove the hard work is paying off.
“By stud comparison, we’re relatively small, with just 450 stud ewes, so it’s great to be able to be competitive against some good mainland studs,” she said.