Grogansworth for nourished fleeces

Grogansworth for nourished fleeces

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George Henderson will have an increased number of Poll Merino rams on offer this spring.

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Shear quality: Four year old wethers penned for shearing at Grogansworth. Photo: George Henderson

Shear quality: Four year old wethers penned for shearing at Grogansworth. Photo: George Henderson

A selection of the 226 maiden stud ewes yarded for shearing. Photo: George Henderson

A selection of the 226 maiden stud ewes yarded for shearing. Photo: George Henderson

George and Kim Henderson have just completed the annual shearing at Grogansworth, Bowning, NSW, and are impressed with wool cuts and quality of fleece after a very tough twelve months.

During the past year George, who manages the family's stud and commercial Merino operation, has fed the 4500 ewes including studs, plus wethers and weaners.

This has paid off in high wool cuts and pregnancy scanning rates.

"I'm very pleased with style, the character and the brightness of the wool," he said.

"It has kept the dust out. Ewes that were shorn a month prior to the general shearing had fleece yields of 71-72 percent.

"We feel we have the right amount of nourishment and combined with lock structure it keeps dust out while retaining the high yield and brightness we are looking for."

Indeed Mr Henderson said one of the attributes of the Grogansworth genetics is the natural ability of the fleece to shed dust and moisture yet still give a high yielding fleece.

"A client in the Bookham Wether Trial had the highest yield average at the February 2020 shearing being 5.6 percent above the trial average," he said.

A highlight for Mr Henderson and the team at Grogansworth was the shearing of 226maiden stud ewes.

"They averaged 8.8kg with a top of 11kg which is phenomenal considering the season they came through," he said.

"They are the first drop bred under Michael Elmes who took over the classing when Ian Marwedel retired."

Since 1997 One Oak No 2 stud was the principal source of sires until it was dispersed.

With the introduction of poll genetics One Oak Poll and Willandra sires have been introduced naturally and through AI.

"The Riverina influence gives us a big lift here on the Southern Tablelands in terms of wool cut and frame," Mr Henderson said.

"The big plain bodies with high wool cuts and fertility are critical production traits for us."

When other wool cuts from the recent shearing are taken into account it is easy to see the profitability of the Grogansworth sheep.

Mr Henderson said 690 four year wethers cut 9.3kg while 2500 mixed age flock ewes cut 7.3kg and have just scanned at 154 percent with only 4.6 percent dry.

The mixed age stud ewes cut 8kg while the long term fleece measurement for adult sheep on Grogansworth is in the 18 to 19 micron range.

"It was great to see the excellent structure and body shape of those ewes as they came off the board," he said.

"Although we have concentrated on fleece weight and quality, we are still attuned to the importance of meat and early maturity traits.

"The length and depth of body and width through the loin is very important. We have clients finishing their wether lambs so we are interested in carcass shape as well as weight."

Mr Henderson also weighed the four-year-old wethers off-shears, averaging 72kg.

"We have put them on a brassica crop and hope to get an extra 10-12kg before selling them through the yards or over-the-hooks," he said.

"We recently took advantage of the high store prices selling classed out wether lambs in the wool.

"The main line weighing 33.5 kg returned $168.50."

The Henderson family will have 100 rams penned for their annual on-property auction on 19 October which will include 40-50 Poll Merino rams.

George Henderson was very impressed with their growth through a very tough season and the style of their fleeces.

"They are coming along nicely, we haven't compromised on wool cut and are getting improved carcass shape and early maturity," Mr Henderson said.

"There will also be around 80-90 flock rams available for sale in the paddock."

Mr Henderson advises prospective buyers to make arrangements to view the rams prior to the auction.

"We are very proud to present these young rams, and especially with the break in the season there should be good demand."

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