Jigsaw Farms (2018-2019)
In 2019 we welcome a new host property – Jigsaw Farms. The family farming operation is run by Eve Kantor and Mark Wooton, is 3,378 hectares and located at Hensley Park and Melville Forest, near Cavendish in Western Victoria.
The farms receive an average annual rainfall of 675 mm and are dominated by duplex soils. They integrate forestry, carbon and indigenous plantings with high-productivity grazing. Over 600 hectares of the farms have been planted out to hardwood high value sawlog timbers, mainly Spotted Gum or permanent revegetation shelter belts.
The mixed grazing operation consists of 25,000 fine wool Merino ewes which are joined to either Merino (60%) or terminal sires (40%) and we also run a 300-cow EU cross-breeding operation.
The farms currently run over 50,000 Dry Sheep Equivalents (DSEs) in a high input production system (average Olsen P of 20) at a winter stocking rate of 21 DSE/ha.
The underlying focus of Jigsaw Farms is to integrate a profitable, highly productive stock and agroforestry operation while adhering to environmental guidelines, based on the understanding that looking after and developing the non-pasture areas of the farm actually assists productivity.
The sheep stud and flock is managed by Jack Leonard in collaboration with Mark Ferguson. This relationship, which started in 2010, has produced a sheep flock that has maintained its 18.2 micron average and its 5.2kg average fleece weight, while dramatically improving the flock’s fertility levels. This is a result of a genetic focus on both muscle and fat, and the strict adherence to the Life Time Ewe Management learnings. We ceased mulesing in 2016 as a result of genetic selection. If needed, we now use a breech cryogenic liquid treatment on about 15% of our lambs with very positive results, both from a lamb growth and wool premium perspective.
The proposed ewes for the Balmoral sire evaluation trial in 2019 were born in spring 2016. There are 4,400 ewes in this drop to select from which will have reared at least two lambs before the trial.
“We are looking forward to seeing how our sheep perform with a range of different sires and welcome the scrutiny and development opportunities that the trail will bring,” Mark said.
Host Property Kooringal (2017-2018)
We welcome a new host property for our 2017 and 2017 AMSEA sire evaluation trials, “Kooringal”, owned by Mark and Jane Bunge.
Located 21 kilometres north of Coleraine, the property features ‘typical Dundas tableland redgum country’ with an annual rainfall of 685mm.
The Bunge family has farmed the property for 90 years. Mark the 3rd generation to farm the land, with the 4th generation in son, Sam, now also involved.
‘Kooringal’ runs approximately 11000 Merino sheep with autumn shearing and spring lambing – lambing down about 5000 ewes to Merino sires and 600 ewes to a terminal sire for prime lamb production – along with 1100 head of cattle.
‘Kooringal’ has been breeding its own rams for over 30 years, bringing in semen from proven sires from sire evaluation trials or MerinoSelect, with a strong focus on objective measurement for replacement ewes and rams. All breeding sheep are micron tested and fleece weighed. Rams are also WEC tested, body weighed and have testicular measurements taken, then put into our customised breeding index to maintain fleece weight, reduce micron, reduce worm output and have a positive effect on reproduction. The Kooringal sheep now cut over 5 kilograms of 17-to-18 micron wool.
Host Property Tuloona (2015 – 2016)
We welcome back Tuloona who previously hosted the trial for the 2006/07 years.
The Committee is extremely grateful to Michael & Jane Craig along with the assistance of Sean Harvey and his team for their continued support of the trial and the hard work and dedication that goes with it.
Located 5km south of Harrow with a 575 mm rainfall, Tuloona is 4200 Ha property running fine wool merinos, 6100 joined to Merino rams and 5100 joined to Suffolk rams.
Host Property Wando Estate (2012 – 2013)
We welcome our new host property Wando Estate, run by Harry Youngman and managed by Tom Sweeny. They run a performance focused fine wool flock north east of Casterton.
Host Property Yiddinga (2010 – 2011)
The property of Yiddinga is 8 km south west of Edenhope on the Edenhope/Penola Rd it is 1900 hectares it was established in 1990, its principle is Andrew Farran with Jim Farran being the Manager. Shearing 24,000 sheep, running around 18,000 over the winter, the average micron of the adult sheep over the last 7 years is 18.5 with average greasy cut over the same period being 4.98 kg. Mating around 8000 ewes per year all to Merinos, till this year when 1300 were mated to White Suffolk.
Property Information: “Mokanger” is situated 10 kilometres east of Cavendish. Owned byMark Rayner and managed by Shane Arnold, Mokanger Pastoral runs a specialist fine wool Merino flock of 23,000 sheep. The average adult micron is around 17 micron. The Mokanger fine wool flock base has been influenced since 2000 by the introduction of Yalgoo and Cressbrook genetics working to achieve long term goals of 16-micron, heavy cutting, plain bodied sheep using the 20% + staple strength index.
Property Information: Michael and Jane Craig of Tuloona Pastoral Services were hosts of the 2006 and 2007 SireEvaluation. Michael heads up an impressive and dedicated fine wool enterprise at Harrow, Victoria. Each year Tuloona uses Laserscan® and Length & Strength testing to fine tune their traditional sheep selection processes to achieve the following aims…
Host property Arundale (2004 – 2005)
‘Arundale’ is 2300 ha of pasture improved country with buckshot/sandy loam/grey loam soil types and a 26 inch average rainfall. It is located approximately 60km north of Hamilton at Balmoral.
The Gringegalgona property, run by Stephen and Judith Silcock is located in the Dundas Highlands. It lies on shallow clay and sandy loams in undulating tableland red gum country on the midway between Cavendish and Balmoral, 48kms north west of Hamilton. The average annual rainfall at Gringegalgona is 675mm (27”). Progeny are managed under strict commercial conditions.
Host property Kerrsville (2000 – 2001)
The Kerrsville property is run by Robert, Judi and Sam Plush as is located approximately 20kms south of Balmoral, in the Western District of Victoria. Average annual rainfall of 720mm on a predominantly clay loam soil type.
Host property The Mountain Dam (1998 – 1999)