Lambs plus at Multi Meats

Lambs plus at Multi Meats

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High lambing percentages drive profitability

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David Hoadley, Blayney, NSW realised that to get the best productivity and profitability from his 215 hectare high rainfall country he needed to produce as many lambs as he could.

Last spring's results show he is well on the way, with a strong lambing result.

Mr Blayney marked 176 percent lambs from his mature age ewes while the rest of his flock including maidens marked 172 percent to 138 percent.

At the 2019 scanning a mob of 263 mature ewes scanned at 2 dry, 21 singles, 211 twins and 29 triplets for a 202 percent result.

"They are terrific percentages and especially now that we are selling lambs for such good prices," he said.

"Using Multimeats has increased our production from 1200 lambs each year to 1800 plus from the same area of land," he said.

"This has occurred despite the recent drought years and we have been able to maintain our ewe numbers during these last two years."

About ten years ago he saw an advertisement for the Multimeat composite breed and heard some encouraging reports on the productivity of the breed and two years later leased rams to put them to the test.

"We had been using first-cross ewes in our traditional prime lamb enterprise and were getting around 120 percent lambing," he said.

"I had been interested in the Booroola gene for a while and when I heard about the possibility of lifting lambing rates I wanted to try the Multimeats."

Mr Hoadley has been breeding a self-replacing flock for the past seven years and he has the full age range from maidens to six year-olds.

"I select the top maiden ewes to keep and this coming August or September I will be able to place on AuctionsPlus around 450 young breeders," he said.

"They will be September 2019 drop, April shorn and ready to join.

"Six weeks ago we got $235 for a draft."

Multimeats are a composite breed based on elite Australian genetics and carry two copies of the Booroola gene and therefore pass one copy to all their daughters.

The Multimeat genotype was initially developed by the CSIRO and subsequently by SARDI.

When the program was to be terminated, Dr Colin Earl and Phil Clothier seized the opportunity and bought the genetics to develop and supply them to the industry.

Dr Earl said that using Multimeat rams is a game changer for the lamb industry because it enables lamb producers to breed prolific ewes which will lamb at over 200 percent and will wean 25-30 percent more lambs when coupled with the correct management system.

He added that producers find it hard to believe that they can lift scanning by one cross using Multimeat rams but this has been proven on over 60 properties across Australia.

Dr Earl said that 30 years ago he analysed prime lamb production systems to determine limiters to lamb productivity and profitability.

"The biggest problem turned out to be the inherently low reproductive rates of Australian genotypes," he said. "Even after 50 years of selection for higher reproductive rates little progress has been made because of the low heritability of these traits.

"So now we are seeing producers achieving higher rates by either lowering stocking rates or supplementary feeding."

Both strategies are effective but costly.

Apart from delivering high fecundity at zero cost the Multimeat breeding program has also concentrated on growth, wool and worm resistance.

The finer end of the Multimeat flock is around 27 micron and some Multimeat Merino wool has been selling in excess of $10 per kilogram because it is on average 2 microns finer than normal crossbred wool.

Dr Earl said Multimeat rams can be leased for $450 per year. "They can be replaced after three years and if they break down or die," he said.

Dr Colin Earl with a set of Multimeat triplets in South Australia. Photo: Julie Earl

Dr Colin Earl with a set of Multimeat triplets in South Australia. Photo: Julie Earl

Young Multimeat ewes bred by David Hoadley at Barry via Blayney.

Young Multimeat ewes bred by David Hoadley at Barry via Blayney.

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